Nonfiction looks different from fiction
In addition to a chapter title, there are
headings and possible subheadings
throughout the text.
There are often a variety of fonts and type
sizes on each page
Words in a paragraph may be boldfaced or
Graphic aids are usually included. They
explain the information in the text or give
additional information and must be examined
carefully with attention to captions and label.
The topic being discussed probably contains
unfamiliar vocabulary that is specific to a
subject area and not likely to be heard in
general conversation. There are often
multisyllabic words that may be hard to
There is a great deal of information to be
understood and remembered.
Preview – look at the whole article to see what
you will be learning about.
Read the title – it tells you the topic of the
Read the deck or introduction and the
headings/subheadings to find out the main
idea you’re going to read about – they are
clues that let you know what to expect.
Predict what you are going to read about. Say
to yourself . . . “This article is about . . .”
Notice the special features – are there
diagrams, maps, charts?? These graphic aids
illustrate what you’re read or add new
information. Don’t skip them!
While reading the article – look for helpful
features in the text – boldfaced type (signals
important vocabulary), pronunciations (helps
you with difficult words.
If the author directs you to a graphic aid –
stop reading and to go that diagram, picture,
map, or chart. Read any captions that are
Start with preparing a KWL chart
List things you KNOW, What you WANT to know, and
what you LEARNED
Review the vocabulary – get use to the
terminology that goes along with the subject.
Highlight main ideas and important facts
1. What clues helped you figure out the text structure?
The text structure is compare/contrast. The deck (or
introduction) was a clue that people did not agree about what
could be done for endangered wolves. Also, the heading “The
Wolf Debate” was a clue that the article was also going to
compare and contrast different opinions about endangered
2. How did knowing the text structure help you?
The reader is able to understand and remember why some
people were in favor of releasing wolves in the wild, and others
were against it.
Nonfiction is organized in ways called text
structure. Most articles use these types of
o compare and contrast
o present information in a sequence of steps
o put forth a problem and offer solutions
o provide detailed description
o explain the cause and effect of an event
3. What new information did the diagram add?
The diagram showed how the food chain
works, so you could understand the part the
wolves play in the ecosystem.
4. Why was the map included?
It shows at a glance the areas where wolves are
found now and where activist want to return them.
You can also see that there are not many areas in
the US where wolves live, especially compared to
5. What side of the debate would you be on if
you lived near a wilderness area? Personal
Ranchers and Farmers Activists
Wolves may attack There is no evident
them that wolves attack
Wolves have attacked people
livestock Wolves may attack
livestock if they don’t
have enough food.
Ranchers and farmers
will be paid if any
livestock are killed.
Write a summary of the article - include what is being proposed
to save endangered wolves and the point of view of each group
involved in the debate.
The opening sentence should include the title of
the article being referred to (In the article “Return
of the Wolves” . . .
Paraphrase the 1st question (animal activists are
proposing . . . )
In a compare and contrast each side should be
presented separately with a smooth transition:
The ranchers and farmers point of view is . . .
However, the activists . . .
Migration : movement from one region to
settle in another
Drought : a lack of rain for a long period of
Mortgage : the use of property as security
against a loan
Impoverished : made poor
1. How did knowing the text structure of Black Blizzard help you?
Guided my reading to look for causes and effects of the dust storms.
2. Why was the Dust Bowl so badly hit by the drought in the 1930s?
The area was mostly wild grasses which held the soil together. The grasses were destroyed
by the crops that framers planted. When the crops dried up from a lack of rain, there
was nothing to hold the soil together, and it was blown away by the heavy winds.
3. Did the Okies find the better life they hoped for in the West? Explain.
No, they did not find a better life. There were no jobs in the West because of the
depression, and so native Californians did not want competition from the newcomers.
Also, most of the Okies could not afford decent housing, and were forced to live in camps
under very harsh conditions.
4. Why was a dust storm called a black blizzard?
Like a blizzard, a dust storm blows and blots out the sky and the landscape with its black
dust and dirt.
5. What did the primary source accounts add to your understanding?
I learned details about the hardships and feelings from an actual migrant.
Nonfiction is organized in ways called text
structure. Figuring out how a selection is
structured will help them organize their
thinking as they read.
The writer begins by describing what a dust storm is like.
The writer goes on to describe the effects of the dust
storms that took place in the 1930’s. Then the writer
asks “How did this happen?” That tells me I’m going to
read about the causes of the dust storms and the
migration. So as I continue to read, I’ll look for causes
Write a summary of the article - include what the dust
bowl was, how it happened, and what its effects were.
The opening sentence should include the title of the
article being referred to: The article “Black Blizzard”
explains how the dust bowl was one of the worst
natural disasters in American history. **this is from the
Paraphrase the 1 question: The dust bowl was . . .
Paraphrase the 2nd question: This happened because
Paraphrase the 3 question: Some of the effects from
the Dust Bowl included . . .
CAUSE: areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New
Mexico, and Colorado were hit by Dust Storms
due to the 1931drought
EFFECTS: because there was no rain, the soil
became dry and loose. Strong winds picked up
the loose topsoil causing crops to fail and
farmers to lose their only source of income.
CAUSE: because of the drought, soil conditions and
lack of income – farms and cattle were lost.
Final EFFECT: People began to migrate to
California looking for a better life. However,
most did not find that California had much to
Ellis Island 1900-1924 Angel Island 1910-1940
European Immigration Asian Immigration center
center Long stay
New York San Francisco, CA
Ellis Island Today Angel Island Today
National landmark Not a national landmark
1965 – given to the 1962 made a California
National Park Service State Park
Millions of visitors