For many teachers and students, the summer months are a chance to change pace, to dig into projects of personal interest, and just…breathe. But for many kids, summer is also a time when learning grinds to a halt. Students in lower socio-economic households in particular have little opportunity to practice the academic skills that began to take root and gel by the end of the year. One particular area of well-documented summer decline is in reading. When students don’t read during the months of summer, the effects on their academic progress are disastrous.
I have come to love fantasy novels, particularly young adult fantasy. There’s no doubt that the Harry Potter series stirred this love. Who couldn’t adore a book that got millions of children to read? The teen fascination with Twilight and The Hunger Games did the same thing—literally millions of teens are reading and talking about these books. They join blogs, they dress up like the characters, they attend the film releases, they compare the books to the movies. Fantasy has been a force for good in literacy.
—Mary Ehrenworth, in Learning from the Elves: A Genre Study of the Complexities and Themes of Fantasy
Don and Jenny Killgallon's sentence-composing approach helps students all across America develop into more proficient and sophisticated writers. Now in this powerful worktext, the Killgallons use their highly effective method to help students become better readers and writers of nonfiction.
Nonfiction for Middle School: A Sentence Composing Approach offers varied practice in building better sentences and paragraphs by modeling the sentence structures of well-known authors, including Diane Ackerman, David McCullough, Gary Paulsen, John Krakauer, Tracy Kidder, Erik Larson, Anna Quindlen, Laura Hillenbrand, Phillip Hoose, Rebecca Skloot, and many others. In this post adapted from the book, the authors introduce the differences between fiction and nonfiction, and how middle schoolers learn to tell the difference.