Enable the children to identify the difference between fiction and non-fiction. First present the children with a blank poster and explain that together you are going to come up with the differences between fiction and non-fiction.
- What does the word fiction/non-fiction mean? What is the difference between these?
- Can you think of some TV shows that are fictional/non-fictional?
- Name as many sources of non-fiction as you can.
(For older students, you could ask them to order these beginning with the most accurate).
- Do you prefer reading fiction/non-fiction?
Overview of differences
Not real Real
Story talk Fact talk
Read to enjoy Read to learn
Read in order Read in any order
Illustrations Photographs, charts, graphs
Characters Index, glossary, bold words, labels
Problems, solutions True information, directions
Name as many non-fiction sources as you can
Approximate time: 6 minutes
Age appropriateness: 8+
Materials required: Paper, pen
Groups of children: Pairs
Explain to the children that they are going to be asked to come up with as many non-fiction sources as they can. Encourage the children to think of sources which they might see being used daily in their homes.
The children are given three minutes and are asked to write down as many non-fiction sources as they can in this time.
E.g. – textbook, internet, newspaper, dictionary, encyclopaedia, thesaurus, atlas, biography, autobiography etc.
The children report back their ideas to the rest of the class – children are encouraged to add to their own lists if they hadn’t thought of some ideas.
For older children, ask them which sources would be the most accurate and why. Any children over 8 years could be asked to use a Venn diagram to sort the sources.
Approximate time: 8 minutes
Age appropriateness: All ages
Groups of children: Whole group
Explain activity to the children – explain that they are each going to take a turn to call out a fact. This fact has to be true or false – if it is true the children say “That’s non-fiction” and if it is false they say “That’s fiction”.
The children call out facts one by one and these facts are either true or false. If the fact is true, the other children called out “That’s non-fiction”, while if it false they call out "That’s fiction”.
E.g. – Child 1: I have blue eyes.
Rest of class: That’s fiction!
Other examples: I can fly, I have wings, We are in a park, We are in the library, I am very tall, Elephants are very big, Caterpillars turn into butterflies, etc.
TV guide – Fiction or Non-fiction
Approximate time: 15 minutes
Age appropriateness: 8+
Materials required: TV guide
Groups of children: Groups of three
To begin this activity the children are invited to call out their favourite TV shows and state whether they are fiction or non-fiction.
In groups of three the children are given a simple TV guide to look at together. The children work together to decide which TV shows are fictional and which are non-fictional.
The children compare their answers with other groups.
More detailed TV guides for older children.
Sort the books
groups of three children
Each group of children is given ten books and are asked to sort these into two piles – fiction and non-fiction.
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