Approaches to the Common Core: NONFICTION VS. EVERYTHING ELSE*

Label the following genres as NF (Nonfiction) or F (Fiction).  Even if you think some could be BOTH, pick the one that is MOSTLY true.

Novels F
Newspaper articles  
Math textbook passages  
Science textbook passages  
Social studies textbook passages  
Informational text on state assessments  
Narrative passages on state assessments  
Magazine articles  
Wikipedia entries  
Letters to the editor  
Directions for appliances  
Credit card bills  
Research studies  
The scroll on CNN and other news channels  
Most of the passages on the PSAT, SAT, and GRE  

 Then read the rest of this post.  What did you notice?  Yep, virtually all are nonfiction except the one already labeled “F.”  Narrative passages on tests could be fiction, but they are often personal narratives—that is, nonfiction.  Anything else?  Well, we hope news scrolls are nonfiction.  But sometimes you wonder.

The point here should be obvious: most of the reading we do in the real world is nonfiction.  Yet in language arts classes, where teachers are most directly responsible for teaching reading, students have traditionally read mostly stories, plays, or poems.  Not nonfiction.

This explains why the Common Core State Standards have put more emphasis on nonfiction.  In future posts, we’ll look at both how to weave more nonfiction into your teaching and also how to teach key critical reading skills (such as inferring main idea) while reading literature.

*This entry is adapted from a chapter in The Literacy Cookbook, which is available for pre-order HERE.

About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012), LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014), and USING GRAMMAR TO IMPROVE WRITING: Recipes for Action (BookBaby, 2018). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in ELA Common Core Standards, Nonfiction, Reading, Reading Informational Text, The Literacy Cookbook BOOK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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