Non-Fiction November is a month-long celebration of non-fiction reading. It’s a time when teachers, librarians, and educators encourage pupils to explore the world of factual books. From volcanoes to space exploration, dinosaurs to cookbooks, there’s a non-fiction book for every budding artist, chef, scientist or explorer. The aim is to show pupils that reading non-fiction can be just as enjoyable and engaging as reading fiction. This year’s theme is ‘Wonderful Water’ which was inspired by ‘Sea Change: Save the Ocean’. The Federation of Children’s Book Groups are hosting competitions for each age range; you can find out more about them here.
Non-fiction books open doors to various subjects and topics that pupils might not encounter in their everyday lives. They offer a chance to explore different cultures, understand scientific concepts, and learn about historical events. By celebrating Non-Fiction November, we expose our pupils to the vast array of knowledge available to them; the most unexpected book a pupil may pick up may be the one that sparks that lifelong interest or fascination!
Non-fiction reading provides a bridge between the classroom and the real world. When pupils see that what they learn in school can be applied to real-life situations, it enhances their understanding and appreciation for knowledge. It frames that knowledge with a purpose. Biographies of individuals can be a quick way in to introducing children to non-fiction. Whether it’s the life of a famous scientist, an intrepid explorer or a talented artist, such real life heroes can be a real source of fascination for those young minds.
Non-fiction texts challenge pupils to think critically, analyse information, and separate facts from opinions. This type of reading encourages them to develop valuable knowledge that is applicable not only within the classroom, for example to write a certain genre for a specific purpose and audience, but can also inform their future personal and professional choices. How many children will go home with questions for their parents after an intense discussion in the classroom about a topical issue, for example!
A passion for non-fiction reading nurtured during Non-Fiction November can lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. It can inspire pupils to explore their interests and continue learning beyond the classroom. Research by the National Literacy Trust in 2022, for example, showed a clear link between non-fiction reading and environmental awareness and action: “children who read non-fiction are more likely to want to take care of the environment compared to those who don’t read non-fiction (68% vs 49%)”. Read the full report here
Create enticing book displays in your classroom or school library that showcase a wide range of non-fiction books. Make sure to include books suitable for various ages and reading levels. If you need help with book suggestions, please see our book list below. Encourage pupils to explore the display and choose a book that excites them. Displaying key vocabulary and definitions is always an added bonus too.
Invite non-fiction authors, experts, or guest speakers to share their experiences and knowledge with your pupils. Hearing from the creators of non-fiction works can make the subject matter more engaging and relatable. Parents can be a fantastic source of knowledge to engage and excite their children about their areas of expertise. Another option is to check out these mini documentaries on YouTube and encourage further reading to research various aspects. Groups could review specific documentaries to become experts in that field, then share their knowledge with the rest of the class.
Have pupils do book talks or write book reviews about the non-fiction books they read during the month. This can help them articulate what they’ve learned and why others might find the book interesting. Perhaps the older pupils could share what they’ve learned with the younger pupils within the school or within a whole school assembly. Asking questions, expressing their opinions and educating their peers helps build those connections between the knowledge gained and their daily lives.
Non-fiction isn’t just about discovering facts, it’s about learning new things, whether it’s trying out a science experiment or exploring the outdoors. Encourage pupils to delve into research projects and turn reading into a hands-on interactive experience. These projects could include creating posters, giving presentations, reviewing online platforms or even developing their own mini non-fiction books again to share their knowledge with others.
Set up a reading challenge for Non-Fiction November, where pupils aim to read a certain number of non-fiction books during the month. Provide incentives or rewards for those who complete the challenge.
Non-Fiction November is a wonderful time to foster a love for reading that extends beyond fictional stories. By celebrating non-fiction literature, we can broaden our pupils’ horizons, show them the real-world relevance of what they learn, develop critical thinking skills, and encourage a lifelong passion for knowledge. With creative and engaging classroom activities, we can make Non-Fiction November a memorable and transformative experience for our pupils. So, let’s embrace this wonderful month of non-fiction exploration and inspire our young readers to embark on their own learning adventures! Who knows what lifelong interests and passions we may ignite.
Download our book recommendations list for Non-Fiction November here.