Learn all about it

Boost your child’s knowledge base with nonfiction books

What you’ll need

What to do

Before reading, talk about what you both know about the topic. Then, when he’s finished the book, find out what new information he learned. To avoid answers like, “I dunno,” ask specific questions. For example, if he read a book about dolphins, ask him what dolphins eat, or how far they travel in the course of a year. Or simply ask your child to name three new things he learned. Did you know that dolphins don’t drink sea water, because they get the water they need from the fish they eat?

Know your author

Did you know that Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a British air force pilot during World War II? Or that Beverly Cleary, who created the Ramona series, was a struggling reader during her first years of school? Help your child learn more about the authors of her favorite books.

What you’ll need

  • Author biographies from the library or a computer

What to do

Check out author biographies from the library or help your child do research online. Pose questions for your child based on what you learn, for example, do you think the author’s books are based on her life experiences? Did the author live a long time ago, or is he still alive? Let the exploration of the author’s story lead you to another topic. For instance, learning about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life could lead to exploring how Native American families lived at that time.

Take this test

Let your child pull a role reversal and give the adults a test for a change.

What you’ll need

What to do

After your child finishes a nonfiction book, have him create a test on the topic by coming up with a list of ten questions. Let him correct your test, and point out where he found the questions and answers in the book.

Eat this book

Use a book as inspiration for dinner.

What you’ll need

What to do

Read a book set in another time or place and use the book as a jumping off point for a feast (and culture lesson). If it’s Little House on the Prairie, make homemade corn bread or maple syrup poured onto snow. If it’s a Magic Treehouse story that takes you to Shakespeare’s time, make a chicken pie and raspberry pudding. Have your child read through the recipe, and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Back in the kitchen, guide your little chef through the recipe, but let him take the lead. Ask him questions such as, “What should you do first?” “What comes next?” Then sit back, relax, and savor your creation!

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Updated: March 2, 2016