1st Edition

Nonfiction Matters Reading, Writing, and Research in Grades 3-8

By Stephanie Harvey Copyright 1998

    When we open the gates to nonfiction inquiry, we open our thinking and expect the unexpected, making reading discoveries, research discoveries, and writing discoveries on our way. Nonfiction Matters offers teachers the tools to help students explore nonfiction and dig deep to reach more complete understanding of the real world and report these insights in a compelling manner. Stephanie Harvey shows how students can read expository text, engage in research, and write authentic nonfiction that is captivating, visual, and full of voice. The inquiry projects she describes require in-depth learning: topic selection, question development, research exploration, reading for content, organization, synthesis, writing to convey meaning, and presenting findings—all skills that develop independent thinkers who know how to make decisions, solve problems, and apply their knowledge insightfully. Full of practical suggestions to help you bring nonfiction into your curriculum, Nonfiction Matters: presents strategies for understanding expository text and conducting meaningful research;offers ideas for organizing and writing accurate, effective nonfiction from idea to finished presentation;advances the importance of teacher modeling and guided practice in instructional delivery;provides a list of inquiry tools and resources—both print and electronic;suggests ways to facilitate project-based learning and assess the projects as they develop;includes bibliographies of nonfiction children's books by subject and genre and lists of recommended magazines.Why is nonfiction almost a guaranteed success? The key to teaching with nonfiction is passion, for children are passionate inquirers, and nonfiction fuels their curiosity and their demand for knowledge and understanding of the world.

    1: From Passion to Presentation; Part 1: Conditions for Successful Inquiry; 2: Honoring Passion; 3: Questions that Compel; 4: Topics that Resonate: Let the Writer Choose; 5: Authentic Resources; 6: Showing Kids How; Part 2: The Nitty-Gritty; 7: Reading Nonfiction: Learning and Understanding; 8: Zeroing In: Observation and Secondary Research; 9: Primary Research: Going Directly to the Source; 10: Organizing Thinking: There's No One Way; Part 3: Putting It All Together; 11: Getting It Down on Paper; 12: Inquiry Genres: The Wide Range of Possibilities; 13: Managing Nonfiction Inquiry Projects; 14: Presentations and Assessment; A Final Word


    Stephanie Harvey is a regular presenter and keynote speaker at conferences. She speaks on reading comprehension; active literacy; nonfiction reading; writing and research; inquiry based learning; reading and writing workshop; and the role of passion, wonder, and engagement in teaching and learning. Steph is the coauthor (with Anne Goudvis) of Strategies That Work, now in its third edition (2017). Her first Stenhouse book, Nonfiction Matters (1997) is also available.