Nonfiction and the CAFE Menu


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Teresa Thorson wants to help her students understand how CAFE strategies work together to help us learn and make meaning in nonfiction. Before her students embark on report writing, they immerse themselves in nonfiction texts, and Teresa spends a week reviewing and building a CAFE Menu using one of our Lit Lessons to help them independently navigate their own topics of interest.

Teresa uses the Lit Lesson for Deserts by Gail Gibbons (link below), teaching one of the strategies each time students gather for a focus lesson. By the end of the week, students see how all the strategies work together to bring about deep understanding with that one text. The chart, book, and connecting sticky notes are displayed next to the regular CAFE Menu for easy reference during small-group work and individual conferences. Teresa says, “It really helps students zero in on and remember the strategies that will help them access their own good-fit nonfiction books.”

This would be easy to emulate in your own classroom with a nonfiction book you love, or use one of the four nonfiction lessons linked below.

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