We all have so little time to do everything that must be done in a school day, no one wants to spend time on a task that we deem completely useless. Any time someone approaches me with yet another book to read for a PLC I can’t help but think how I am going have to spend countless hours reading some book that will not provide enough information to justify the amount of time I spent reading. As a reading teacher, I assign informational text to my students and see the same looks on their faces that I feel myself making at the thought of reading yet another text book. Don´t get me wrong, I LOVE to read! A good novel is better than a movie any day. There is just something about nonfictional text that kills any desire within me to read.

However, Nonfiction Notebook: Strategies for Informational Writing by Aimee Buckner has really blown me away.  I have read the first 3 chapters in this book and cannot believe the amount of useful strategies that have been shared about writing nonfiction in just the first part of the book.  Methods that I can use in my classroom. In fact, after reading, I immediately added several of the techniques I read about into my lesson plans for the upcoming week. After trying the suggested strategies and seeing students reactions, I am eager to continue reading.

Aimee Buckner reveals several strategies in the second chapter for helping students formulate their thought prior to writing.

  • Notice What Writers Do is a strategy where students make notes or jot down what they are noticing an author has done to keep the reader interested.
  • Topic Legs helps students write down different angles from which they can write about the same topic.
  • Take a Tour creates a museum exhibit on a subject in their notebook. This method helps students explore all aspects of a topic.
  • At the Heart of It,  which is similar to a heart map, is an approach that allows writers to focus on the most important aspects about their topic. This can help narrow down a topic and decide on a theme.
  • Connect P3 helps writers to connect their thoughts. Students begin this technique by writing words around their main topic. Then, they look at how each word and draws lines that visual connects one idea to the other ideas.

These strategies are great for teachers that are beginning the exploration into nonfiction writing. Buckner´s  descriptions and examples of each technique is very clear. In addition to clear descriptions and examples, the text is easily read. This text is filled with amazing strategies that can be implemented into a classroom without reorganizing your entire schedule. Out of all of the text I have read centered around education, this book has been one of the most beneficial.

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In addition to sharing all of these amazing strategies, Buckner connects these strategies to the CCSS. This book is 100% teacher friendly and worth taking the time to read.

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3 thoughts on “Is Reading “Nonfiction Notebook” by Aimee Buckner Worth the Time?

  1. I’m thrilled that you found this book to be so helpful as a teacher in the intermediate grades. I find the Buckner’s books are always organized, practical, and teacher-tested in a way that leaves me feeling confident that I could be successful in modeling and teaching the strategy in my own classroom. You mentioned that you’ve actually tried out some of the strategies, so I’m eager to hear and see more details! Are you incorporating these strategies into social and/science instruction? What kinds of writing are children doing related to non-fiction reading? Do you find that writing is impacting children’s non-fiction reading comprehension? How did you go about teaching/modeling strategies?

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    1. I have already begun to use several strategies from the first couple of chapters in my classroom. We have spent 30 minutes every day for the past week and a half researching, writing, drafting, revising and creating. I plan to write all about it in my next blog post.

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