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Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 1
Reading: Literature Standard 5

Time Frame

3 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size


Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Systems Thinking


Linda Houtz


Students will show that they understanding the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. This is important since students need to speak the language of the library in order to access the kinds of literature that is going to most appeal to them and answer their information questions.



  • SmartBoard;
  • Examples of fiction and nonfiction texts to read to class;
  • enough nonfiction books for each student to look over for text features;
  • Attached SmartBoard exercises.

Background for Teachers

  • Most students are familiar with the concept of the two genres of fiction and nonfiction, but they still mix up these terms. First graders are just learning about the features of nonfiction texts.
  • This lesson should eventually be followed by a closer look at nonfiction text features so that students can eventually use these features to answer their information questions.

Student Prior Knowledge

  • Familiarity with books that tell stories for entertainment versus books that provide information, whether in an expository or narrative form.
  • Some exposure to the concept and words "fiction" and "nonfiction"

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • When presented with a text, students will identify it as "fiction" or "nonfiction."
  • Students will be able to recognize the kind of features that belong in a nonfiction book versus a fiction book.
  • Students will identify the basic genre of the type of book that interest them. For example, if a student likes to learn about the foods that a crocodile eats, they will assert that this would be found in our library's nonfiction section.

Instructional Procedures

  1. (Day 1) I will let students know my objective and the value of achieving it (for them to best be able to find the texts that they are interested in or need to answer an information question.)
  2. I will use the SmartBoard to pre-test the class to see if they know the difference between fiction and nonfiction texts. Students will come up one-by-one to try one question. At this point, I will not teach the difference but just let them try so that I can get a feel of what students know already.
  3. I will then bring students to the read-aloud area where we will take a look at both a fiction and non-fiction book, both featuring a similar topic, such as a fiction story of a whale and a nonfiction text about a whale.. There, I will have posted and we will review the words "fiction" and "non-fiction" which they have already been exposed to last year, in kindergarten, and this year.
  4. When students are excused to return their books to the library circulation desk, they must first tell me whether their book is fiction or nonfiction. The same procedure will be used during checkout time.
  5. (Day 2) We will more closely explore the features of a nonfiction text: table of contents, glossary, index, headings through the reading of a nonfiction text.
  6. Students will each be given a nonfiction book that they will use to point out one of the features discussed. Students will work with a partner to find these features.
  7. I will release students to check out books after they can point to one of the features I randomly ask them to find. If they are incorrect, I will have them stay behind and listen to the rest of the students point out the feature in their text. This will allow them time to be relearn before finally getting another chance.
  8. (Day 3) We will read a narrative non-fiction text. This will throw them off a bit, so I bring a few examples and let them know that "some stories" teach us about something that really happened. That "these stories" are considered to have real characters/people and events.
  9. We will review both genres and students will be able to ask questions before the assessment on the SmartBoard.
  10. Students will be assessed by dragging 5 items into the correct image with word "fiction" and "nonfiction."

Assessment Plan

Each student will be asked to come up to the SmartBoard to group 5 example books and book characteristics into the correct genre group (fiction or nonfiction). To support learners, I will read aloud the choices. Students who do not get 100% will sit down and try again after all learners have gone up. This will give them a chance to relearn. I will discuss why an incorrect answer is incorrect.

Created: 07/30/2014
Updated: 02/04/2018