Nine reasons to get children reading non-fiction this November

  1. It will expand their vocabulary. Non-fiction books are full of technical subject specific words less frequently encountered in fiction. A wider vocabulary makes the whole curriculum more accessible.
  2. It introduces formal writing. It introduces them to a more formal way of writing that they won’t see in fiction. This is the pattern of language that they will use in much of the writing through their education and in work.
  3. It is entertaining and distracting and like fiction reading can support mental health. Reading a book on a subject that we are interested in is immersive and fun – a great distraction from some of the current daily challenges.
  4. They’ll learn about the world around them and be more able to discuss and debate a broad range of ideas beyond the curriculum.
  5. It will help them spot fake news. Non-fiction reading can help children think about the accuracy of what they are reading and begin to make judgements about the reliability of different information sources.
  6. It can make complex text and ideas accessible to less able readers. A good children’s non-fiction book is broken up by images, charts, labels and infographics all helping the less able reader to navigate the language and concepts.
  7. It develops summarising, information gathering and research skills all crucial for successful learning into secondary school and beyond.
  8. It can engage reluctant readers especially if they find a topic they are passionate about be that cars, dogs, cooking, or a famous person or event. Moreover the format itself is less daunting – rather than a story that needs to be read from cover to cover a non-fiction book is often broken up by headings, images and text boxes allowing a child to dip in and out of sections that appeal.
  9. It’s a requirement of the National Curriculum – “All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum”.

National Non-Fiction November

Designed to encourage children’s non-fiction reading in schools and homes National Non-Fiction November is run annually by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

This year’s theme is The Planet We Share allowing for a school focus on a range of environmental issues from climate change to plastic pollution.

Visit the FCBG website for a comprehensive booklist including sections on People, Taking Action and Conservation as well as suggested activities and competitions for KS1 and KS2 children.

Sally Harrison

Sally Harrison

Sally is the Education Resources Service Manager for Juniper Education. She has worked in primary school and public libraries for 17 years and as a children’s book reviewer. She is a chartered librarian, a member of the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians and has been a board member of the School Library Association.