You already know that nonfiction books are an essential part of any classroom. That “just-right” nonfiction text helps naturally inquisitive students feed their curiosity and expand their knowledge of the world around them.

    But matching readers to their correct level for each book can sometimes feel difficult. Independent reading level is determined by accuracy, fluency, and comprehension, and if one of these components is missing, the child may not be reading at the right level.

    To help you and your students pick the best books to engage their interest, we’ve gathered five teacher-tested tips to make sure their chosen titles are a perfect match.

1.   Give your students opportunities to self-select nonfiction texts. High-interest series such as Who Would Win or What If You Had can encourage children to actively engage in the material by sharing interesting images or favorite passages with their classmates.

2.   Listen to your students read when they begin a new nonfiction book to determine if they are able to read the words accurately and fluently. The five-finger test — making sure your readers encounter no more than five challenging words on a given page — is an effective strategy to make that determination.

3.   Get to know your students’ interests and backgrounds to help you understand how much their background knowledge is aiding their comprehension. Try this student interest survey as a place to begin.

4.   Talk with students frequently. Ask them to summarize what they’ve read to determine if they are putting together and remembering important information from the text. 

5.   Use a student's reading level as a starting point, not an end point. If your student is reading independently at level L, but has a lot of background knowledge on a particular subject, they may be able to read a Level P on that topic. Knowing that history can help you steer students to the right books!

    The more your students read engaging nonfiction books they love, the more they’ll build the background knowledge they need to achieve academic success.

    Shop compelling nonfiction books below now! You can find all books and activities at The Teacher Store

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