Chapter 3: Finding The Balance: Pairing NonFiction and Realistic Fiction
My young writers accomplished a great deal during the course of the project. The energy level was high and students were invested in the work they were doing, always with the end goal of a nonfiction book created with an audience in mind. I saw many headings, captions, and diagrams as the students in my class created their nonfiction books. And in many cases, my second graders wrote explanations for the science underlying all sorts of weather phenomena.
Then I noticed something unexpected. In our nonfiction Writing Workshop, the writers began to include other text features to help communicate information to their readers. In his book about All About Blizzards, Bryson used the a map to answer the question, “Where do blizzards happen?” His short explanation read, “Blizzards mostly happen in North America (added during one of our conferences), northern Europe, and China.” He added a small text box at the bottom of the page which read, “Blizzards mostly happen on high tall mountains.” Calvin also used a map to illustrate the location of tornado alley in his book, All About Tornadoes. While both boys were missing some important information on these pages (Why do blizzards happen in that particular part of the world? and What is tornado alley?), their work was evidence of their growth as nonfiction writers.