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Animal Study: From Fiction to Facts
|Grades||K – 2|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute sessions|
This lesson describes how to use selected fiction and nonfiction literature and careful questioning techniques to help students identify factual information about animals. Children first identify possible factual information from works of fiction which are read aloud, then they listen to read-alouds of nonfiction texts to identify and confirm factual information. This information is then recorded on charts and graphic organizers. Finally, students use the Internet to gather additional information about the animal and then share their findings with the class. The lesson can be used as presented to find information about ants or can be easily adapted to focus on any animal of interest to students. Resources are included for ants, black bears, fish, frogs and toads, penguins, and polar bears.
Animal Inquiry: This online tool helps students organize, record, and then print out information they find while researching an animal. Choose from four organizers: animal facts; animal babies; animal interactions; and animal habitats.
In Literacy at the Crossroads, Regie Routman reminds us of the importance of "a greater use of multiple texts in reading instruction," to include not only narrative texts, but informational texts as well. In "Nonfiction Inquiry: Using Real Reading and Writing to Explore the World," Stephanie Harvey stresses the importance of nonfiction: "Nonfiction enhances our understanding. It allows us to investigate the real world and inspires us to dig deeper to inquire and better understand" (13).
Sometimes the line between fact and fiction can be unclear, especially with the wide use of animal characters in works of fiction. Comparing nonfiction and fiction texts containing similar subject matter can help students develop critical thinking skills as they learn to bring their own prior knowledge as well as additional factual information to works of fiction that they read.
Routman, Regie. 1996. Literacy at the Crossroads: Crucial Talk about Reading, Writing, and Other Teaching Dilemmas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Harvey, Stephanie. "Nonfiction Inquiry: Using Real Reading and Writing to Explore the World." Language Arts 80.1 (September 2002): 12-22.