LESSON ONE: What is a Nonfiction Picture Book Anyway?



Students compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction texts. Students share their background of fiction and nonfiction texts.



R3C         Use details from texts to answer questions, retell main idea and important details, organize a sequence of events, identify simple cause and effect, draw conclusions, compare and contrast texts, identify author’s purpose for writing text, and make inferences about problems and solutions.



§         Sources of literature 


§         Supplies 

o        Fiction books

o        Variety of nonfiction books/animal picture books

o        Touchstone text 1

o        Chart paper

o        Writer’s notebook/pencils


§         Handouts provided

o        None


§         Words to know

o        author’s purpose

o        cause and effect

o        compare

o        contrast

o        draw conclusions

o        retell

o        main idea



Teacher observation, viewing of students’ writing notebooks, and anecdotal records.




1.        Compare and contrast a fiction book with a nonfiction book. Read both books and discuss the text while developing a Venn Diagram. Encourage students to share their observations and background knowledge. Lead a discussion about author’s purpose of both types of books: to persuade, to inform, or to entertain.


2.        Students view nonfiction animal picture books. Discuss nonfiction books. Student share their experiences with these kinds of books.






What do these books have in common?

What do you think the author’s purpose was in this book?

What could you learn from these books?

How could you use these books?

What kinds of topics do you notice?

How are these books arranged? (format of a text/nonfiction text features)

Do you usually check these kinds of books from the library?

What is usually the main idea of these texts?





In order to determine reading comprehension by students, you will also want to ask questions that are related to your touchstone texts (nonfiction animal picture books), specifically. some






What type of habitat does this animal require?

Describe the animal’s life cycle. (apply the reading strategy of sequencing here)

What special body parts does this animal have?

Is the animal a predator? Explain.

Is this animal prey to other animals? Explain.

What kind of foods does this animal eat?

Is the animal endangered?

Could this animal be a house pet?

What are the most important things to remember about this animal?

How would other animals be affected if there were no more of these animals?

Where are these animals found?

What problems does this animal face?



3.        Define nonfiction picture books.




A nonfiction picture book is a book written about a nonfiction topic. The illustrations or pictures match each page of writing, and are organized so that each page in the book correlates to a different aspect of the topic.


4.        Show students the nonfiction picture book you will use. Read the text to students, highlighting essential elements, as well as, the types of information found within the nonfiction animal picture book. This will help students build background knowledge of essential/non-essential information.




Essential elements include:

The topic which the book is written is a nonfiction topic in which the student has some prior knowledge.

The book gives important information about the topic. The information was gained from previous knowledge and information gathered from basic research.

The book is organized in such a way that each page contains information from a different aspect within the topic.

The book is written from third person point of view.

The book matches illustrations to the written part of the book.


  1. Create an anchor chart. Begin charting on the anchor chart, “Things We Know About Nonfiction Animal Picture Books”. Make sure essential elements are evident on the anchor chart.


  1. In their writer’s notebook, students write the definition of a nonfiction animal picture book and any questions they may have about these books. Model if necessary.


  1. Talk with students individually as you make anecdotal records.