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The Nonfiction Now Lesson Bank, Grades 4-8

The Nonfiction Now Lesson Bank, Grades 4-8
Strategies and Routines for Higher-Level Comprehension in the Content Areas

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February 2014 | 320 pages | Corwin

Every once in a while—and not often enough—a professional book comes along that has such a profound impact on your classroom practice you’re left wondering how you were able to survive so long without it.

It’s about to happen again: that “where-have-you-been-all-my-life” feeling. With Nancy Akhavan’s Nonfiction NOW Lesson Bank.

What exactly makes this book such a stand-out? Instead of talking around the Common Core—or around what it means to read nonfiction well—it gets to the heart of showing you just how to teach content-area texts for slower, deeper, and more purposeful reading and understanding.

If you consider the number of lessons, reproducibles, and ready-to-use informational texts, that alone is a pretty hefty sum of resources to transform teaching. But Nancy happens to be an educator who has performed many roles over her career so she divests in this book just about everything in her professional vault, presenting a whole-new vision for your nonfiction instruction.

Step by step—and before, during, and after reading—The Nonfiction Now Lesson Bank provides:

  • 50 powerhouse lessons on teaching nonfiction, including five on close reading
  • A bank of short informational texts to use with lessons
  • Student practice activities on everything from scanning features to writing about reading
  • Graphic organizers for taming textbooks
  • The Daily Duo sequence for weekly lesson and unit planning

Some professional books live their lives on shelves. The Nonfiction NOW Lesson Bank will live its life in actual use: dog-eared, sticky-noted, and loved.

A former teacher, staff developer,  principal, and assistant superintendent, Nancy Akhavan is currently Assistant Professor and Single Subject Credential Coordinator at California State University, Fresno. Her areas of expertise are broad—literacy, reading and writing instruction, content-based reading instruction, standards-based instruction, English language learners, and leadership—in both urban and rural settings.

“When you read this book what shines through is: Nancy is a teacher. Only a teacher would know that this is just-the-right book for teachers, right now. Right now, with the pressures to help kids read more and more complex texts, Akhavan has a solution that is sensible. . . . Now, just as it’s always been, it’s about comprehension.”
—Jennifer Serravallo, Author of The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook

Foreword by Jennifer Serravallo
Part I. The "Now" Factor of Nonfiction Reading
Chapter 1. Yes, We Are Asking More of Our Nonfiction Readers
Chapter 2. Model It: Four Lessons for Introducing Close Reading
Chapter 3. Taming the Textbook: Strategies for Helping Students Handle These Tomes
Chapter 4. The Key Strategies for Deep Reading Nonfiction
Part II. The Daily Duo
Chapter 5. The Daily Duo: A Sequence That Promotes Student Reading and Writing to Learn
Chapter 6. The Daily Layout of Teaching Nonfiction
Chapter 7. Planning Instruction for Student Success
Part III. The Lessons and Texts
Lessons for Getting Main Idea by Understanding Text Structures
Prereading and Think-Aloud Lessons for Main Idea and Details
Lessons That Support Students While Reading for Main Idea and Details
After-Reading Engagements: Exploring the Main Ideas and Details in Texts
Summarizing to Comprehend
Understanding Key Vocabulary
Writing About Reading
Appendix: The Ready-to-Use Texts
Reproducible Forms
Photo Credits

Free resources

Textbook Tamers Graphic Organizers

Textbook Tamers Graphic Organizers

These graphic organizers from The Nonfiction NOW Lesson Bank are tools that students can use throughout a reading and writing unit to help clarify their thinking.


“When you read this book what shines through is: Nancy is a teacher. Only a teacher would know that this is just-the-right book for teachers, right now. Right now, with the pressures to help kids read more and more complex texts, Nancy has a solution that is sensible. . . . Now, just as it’s always been, it’s about comprehension.”

Jennifer Serravallo, Author of Independent Reading Assessment

“A practical look at teaching nonfiction texts. The ideas in this book will guide upper-elementary and middle school teachers toward success with the demands of reading for information. The lessons will get you started tomorrow and will allow for increased proficiency for students.”

Douglas Fisher, Coauthor of Rigorous Reading

"I predict this will be one of the most dog-eared, tattered, sticky-noted books in your professional library.  As teachers face the challenge of incorporating more nonfiction into our teaching, Nancy Akhavan has seamlessly blended research, critical foundational information and endlessly useful teaching tactics into one go-to resource.”

Ellin Keene, Author of Talk About Understanding

“I love what Nancy Akhavan has done! She meshes best practices with what’s best about the Common Core—and never loses sight of what motivates students to read in the first place: worthy texts and clear purposes for reading them. If I had to choose, what I love best are the lessons, organizers, and these great short texts—all for enhancing student understanding. I’m ready to use this book. Now!”

Leslie Blauman, Author of The Common Core Companion, Grades 3-5
Key features
  • Reproducible graphic organizers
  • Teach educators how to use textbooks in an engaging and meaningful way
  • Includes graphics to engage the reader and help busy teachers implement suggestions quickly and easily
  • Chapters laid out in a block fashion making it easier for the reader to explore and read the organizer presented
  • Features a mix of textbook examples, trade book texts, and informational text provided

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ISBN: 9781452286501
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