The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

3 Easy Ways to Compare Fiction and Non-fiction Books


3 Easy Ways to Compare Fiction and Non-Fiction1Comparing fiction and non-fiction books is a great way to get your child thinking about books in a new way. Here are 3 activities that you can try with your child:

1) When reading fiction and non-fiction books on a similar topic, ask your child to look for things that are the same and different in the book. Record their responses using a Venn Diagram. Click here for a free Venn Diagram printable. Two of my favorite titles for this activity are the fiction book, Pumpkins, Pumpkins by Jeanne Titherington, and the non-fiction title, The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons.

2) When reading 2 non-fiction books, teach your child how to take notes using a T-chart. This will allow them to compare the facts from each book. Here is a free printable for you.

3) While reading books, ask your child to be a detective to look for these clues:

Common Fiction Book Clues Common Non-fiction Book Clues
table of contents
research facts
photos or diagrams with labels

Did YOU know (and I just learned this!)?
There are some fiction stories in the non-fiction section, such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Shakespeare’s work. Technically, all stories are assigned a Dewey Decimal number. Since there are so many fiction stories in the 800s non-fiction section, most libraries have a separate section for fiction books.

And a BONUS tip:
After reading a fiction book, ask your child if there is something in the story about which your child would like to know more. Then, use non-fiction books to do simple research!

How about a FREE resource? Click here for Evan-Moor’s downloadable sampler from Reading Paired Text for Grades 1-6! Reading Paired Text provides fun ready-made lessons including the stories and articles you need for the lessons and activities.

In this book, each study unit is based on 2 stories or articles. Within the units, the students are guided with specific activities to help them understand and compare the stories. There are also fun extension activities that can be done to include other subject areas as well! How great is that?

Learn more about Reading Paired Text on Evan-Moor’s website, or subscribe to to access these lessons and every Evan-Moor book!

Now we want to hear from you: What are your ideas for comparing fiction and non-fiction books? Please let us know in the comments section!

Amy Michaels ProfileAmy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website


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