Student eBooks - Navigating Nonfiction

Since February I have been working with a group of grade two students. They have worked in pairs with a collection of books on a self chosen topic connected to the bigger idea of life cycles. I didn't limit them to animals, but this is where all of them ended up, although rocks, sunflowers and water were some of their initial ideas. It's all about agreeing on something with your partner. My goal has been to teach them how to navigate nonfiction texts so that they will be more efficient users of information and hopefully, more competent learners.

From my end, this project has been based on the work of numerous mentors and mentor texts across my teaching career, including, but not limited to Carol M. Santa, Lynn T. Havens and Evelyn M Maycumber of the CRISS Project, Adrienne Gear, Tony Stead, and Faye Brownlie. I have stolen, adapted, and integrated their work. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

We followed the standard model of teacher modelling, group work and eventually partner work to unpack each particular text feature. Then students worked in pairs to find their own examples which they then used ipads to photograph. They cropped and edited these images before importing them into a Book Creator template. Using voice recognition, they explained what they understood from this feature, and then edited the resulting text to make sure it made sense. Some groups couldn't find every feature we looked at, while others had time to include more.

You can read them here, but if you click to open a pop out window, it will take you to a google document that you can then download. They are best read using some kind of reading app on your device such as ibooks, bluefire reader, or kindle. 


  1. This is a brilliant idea! Thanks. Not sure if I can actually manage to get iPads in my library for each class (and same actual device etc) over a sustained timeframe, but this gives me so many ideas, if need be we could do something similar on paper. I love the way that you have mixed inquiry with learning about book features and the student learning is so visible :)

    1. Thanks Fiona. Good luck configuring your own projects with your students.