Why is non-fiction important for reading development?
A guest post from Roderick Hunt, MBE
Why is it important to widen children’s early reading experience into reading non-fiction and information books? It is because the literate, print-bound world for which children are being educated requires the ability to process information and master the many formats in which information is presented.
Non-fiction is ubiquitous. The digital world, in which children are growing up, is rich in texts that inform and instruct. Learning to read with factual books as well as storybooks is a way of preparing them for life.
Children love facts and information, and while it is vital to teach children to read, it is even more important to help them explore a range of genres for themselves. In this way, children can experience for themselves what reading can do, and realise how it can open the doors of discovery. There’s an old fashioned phrase for it – ‘finding out’!
When children discover facts and acquire information through text and illustration, they begin to read to learn. Through this process, their curiosity will be heightened, and their store of knowledge and vocabulary increased. In short, their reading will be for a purpose and their intellectual development will be enhanced.
As Dr Seuss wrote, ‘The more that you read, the more things you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
Roderick Hunt is the co-creator of the world renowned reading scheme, Oxford Reading Tree, which features Biff, Chip, Kipper, Floppy, and their friends. Roderick received an MBE for services to education in 2008, marking his enormous contribution to children’s literacy.
The latest series from Oxford Reading Tree, Explore with Biff, Chip and Kipper, launches in January 2018. It comprises 60 carefully paired fiction and non-fiction texts featuring Biff, Chip and Kipper – inviting children to explore a range of curriculum linked topics with their favourite Oxford Reading Tree characters.