When I first clicked on the link for www.nonfictionminute.org, I felt like I found gold. In our district we do the Lucy Calkin’s writing program. In this program there is a large unit of nonfiction. I often struggle with unit because I struggle finding mentor texts! Listening to the nonfiction stories is genius! I listened to several of them, all with the different authors and voices. Really helpful. I love this link and will be browsing throughout the year. This is how I describe nonfiction to my kids- “not a fairytale, not fake.” This website will come in handy!
Additionally, I was happy to explore the I.N.K website. First, the acronym is wonderful (INK-interesting nonfiction for kids) because it is true! It is imperative that students have access to nonfiction texts. I like how INK is getting educators and parents excited about nonfiction. Also, they have interesting books that teachers can use in their classrooms and they have writers who blog about up to date topics regarding Common Core State Standards and nonfiction texts. I liked explored the “Nonfiction Minutes” section. They had a variety of podcasts about different nonfiction concepts. I found one that was about a small jet fighter plane that wore a “costume” during World War II. This book would be great to reference when teaching students about World War II.
This weekend I attended a book fair of over 90 authors in my town. As I was walking around and looking at books, I noticed that all of the nonfiction authors had a brochure for the I.N.K. website. The purpose was to explain what I.N.K. is and advertise “The Nonfiction Minute”. I was happy to see that this wonderful resource was being shown to many adults and children.
In all my years as an educator, I must say that I.N.K. — The Non Fiction Minute’s archive of short non-fiction pieces that are written and narrated by nonfiction writers blew me away. I cannot wait to share this resource with my colleagues. In an introduction on the “For Teachers” page, Dr. Myra Zarnowski of Queens College gives suggestions of how to use these nuggets of nonfiction in the classroom. “You get to know our authors so maybe you’ll get their books from the library. And it only takes a minute!” I loved watching countless video clips and how excited these writers and editors were about their commitment to making using nonfiction text something everyone can do! As a reading teacher, I can pull from these authentic texts and focus on key comprehension skills. I strongly believe the format of these passages will make my reluctant readers walk away with the five W’s and retain the information they read.
Looking at the “Ink think tank” website I found so many useful things I could use in my classroom that I think would really spark the interest of my students when it comes to non-fiction books. I especially liked the link to the “non-fiction minute”. On this website there are short non-fiction stories about a variety of topics. Students can look for ones that interest them by subject and they can even listen to the readings, which is fantastic for students that struggle with reading. Kids could spend a few classes just getting immersed in the non-fiction genre by exploring this website and reading a few short stories!
Oh my goodness… I feel like I’ve struck gold with nonfiction minute.org! I’m amazed at what I found there. I am working on a unit about the Civil War and will be using this as a resource. It will be a wonderful addition. I can’t wait to share it with colleagues.
Teacher of 7 ELA at Mt. Savage Middle School in Allegany County, Maryland.