Fiction books are often appealing to kids and help them improve their reading skills. But they can also be very useful in supporting learning in the classroom. Look through your fiction collection to find books that fit into the topics and lessons you’re teaching in the classroom.
The key is finding a connection between the picture books and the topics in the classroom. Historical fiction books work particularly well. Even though the stories are fictional, they often include details that are true to the historical period. Look for books that take place in the time period you’re studying in history class, for example. For example, the book “Pink and Say” by Patricia Polacco takes place in the Civil War.
In science class, find books that touch on science topics you’re studying. For example, “A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle fits into a life science unit. The kids get a different aspect of the science topic.
Connecting It to the Curriculum
Fiction books are enjoyable for kids to read and hear because they tell an engaging story. After you read the story, connect it back to the curriculum. You might point out how something in the story was just like what you learned in history class, for example. Or you can ask questions related to the subject. If you’re studying states of matter and a story includes ice skating, you might ask what state of matter the ice is.
You can also use the books to extend the learning through additional activities and projects. If you read a picture book set in a past time, you can have the kids reenact the story. When reenacting the story, focus on the historical elements that relate back to your history studies.
When you read multiple picture books about the same topic, you can compare the details of the stories. For example, you might read two different fiction books about the Civil War. Compare the historical aspects of both of the stories. Then compare those details to what you learned in history class.
Using fiction books related to the topics in the classroom helps the kids connect to the information. Some kids may be more interested in a picture book or find the information easier to understand than that in the textbooks. Fiction is a great way to read all of the kids in the class.