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by Maureen Slamer

Informational (nonfiction) books provide a wealth of knowledge for our youngest readers.  Often we forget as adults that children love to learn facts and other interesting tidbits.  Informational books are often the spark that ignites the love of reading.  This story provides a peek into a child’s book choice, one that resonates with information that has been read to him.


“Gigi, let’s read,” Amir shouted running into the kitchen waving a small book.  “It’s called Sunflowers.  I know all about sunflowers!  Papa read a book about plants to me.  I got this from the classroom library.  Plants are cool!”

Gigi gathered Amir for a hug.  “Yes, you do know about flowers.  Didn’t Papa read it to you last weekend?”

“Yup, Papa read Seed to Plant.  You know, that National Geographic book.  It has real pictures and fun facts!  Let’s go Gigi.”  Gigi smiled and followed Amir.

“Snuggle up, Gigi.”  Gigi pulled Amir close.  The couch pillows formed a cocoon around them.  Amir began to read.  “’A mouse drops a sunflower seed here.’  That’s how sunflowers start, Gigi.  Birds and animals drop the seeds.  Then they germinate!” 


Yup, germinate.  That’s what they do.  That sunflower seed breaks and sends out a shoot.  Then it gets roots.  And it gets bigger.  The book called it a seedling.  It’s not a sunflower yet.”  Amir turned the page.  “See Gigi.  There it is.”  Amir pointed to the middle of the page.  “Then the seedling grows and grows!”

Amir continued to read.  “’A sunflower comes up here…’”

“Gigi, those birds and animals must have dropped a lot of sunflower seeds!” 

“Wow, Amir.  You sure do know about flowers!”

Informational Books Ignite Reading

For seven-year-old Amir, informational books are filled with photographs, realistic illustrations, and facts (“It has real pictures and fun facts!”).  He shared his learning with his grandmother as they read together (“Birds and animals drop the seeds.  Then they germinate!”).  Amir’s interest in plants led the way in choosing his book to read.  He was able to apply what he learned from the book his Papa read to him to the book he shared with Gigi. 

As an adult, what we choose to read is based on our purpose or what may interest us.  At times we may choose to read informational books because we have a need to learn or explore a topic.  At other times we may choose stories for entertainment.  How is reading for a child any different?  A steady diet of adult chosen stories may not meet a child’s interest.  Why not allow a child’s interest be the guide?


• books or magazines with topics of interest to your child

• sharing what you are reading with your child and why you chose it 

• going to the library and observing what your child picks up and flips through may be your guide

Literacy Library Bulletin Link

Tim O’Keefe – What Does Reading Mean to You?

Literacy Gallery Episode  Link

Maryann Whitfield – Why Do Dandelions Have So Many Seeds

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