So I struggle with this every year… I spent the first quarter focusing on elements of fiction. Most of my students love to read fiction and that is what they fill their book boxes with. During the first quarter, students were able to practice skills using books they selected and I was able to confer with them and assess their progress. Now we are focusing on elements of nonfiction.

Should I require students to have only nonfiction in their book boxes so they can be practicing with our standards focus?

Should I let them read whatever they want and just focus on standards in small group?

Should I have a separate time for reading whatever they want and require them to focus on the genre we are working on during reading workshop time?

Thanks for any insight you have!





April Davis

I am actually struggling with this problem myself. I want to teach nonfiction strategies but none of my students are reading nonfiction.
My first attempt to solve this problem is to collect some nonfiction books on different levels and have the kids in that group pick 1-2 books they want to try the strategy with for the next few sessions. That way they still have choice in their reading but I am having them read nonfiction for at least part of the time to work with the strategy. Not sure how it will work but its worth a try.


If you present your whole group mini-lessons with nonfiction text, you will probably “catch” a lot of students’ interest. Perhaps you can showcase some of your favorite nonfic texts, and let students who are developing, or have developed, an interest in nonfic share their favorites, as well.
I think the Sisters would say to not limit book selections to non-fiction, but perhaps you haven’t pointed out–or they haven’s noticed–the nonfic books in your room. I don’t think you want to set up different times–we want them to realize reading is reading, no matter the text.
Let us know how it’s going!

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