How To Teach Nonfiction Text Skills With A Perfect Winter Read Aloud

Time is officially going by way too fast, and I can’t believe I am already blogging about my January read aloud. Regardless, I am so grateful that our Books Teachers Love collaborative introduces our favorite read alouds the month before we actually use them in our classrooms. That gives us all plenty of time brainstorm how to incorporate these creative read aloud ideas into our own lesson plans. Shout out to Stephanie from Mrs. D’s Corner for that brilliant idea!

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After December break, we launch our nonfiction reading and writing unit in second grade. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino is a perfect read aloud to guide lessons about nonfiction elements, and main idea & detail identification. Your students will be awestruck by the amazing photographs and interesting facts that fill the pages of this nonfiction must-have.

The Snow of Snow nonfiction read aloud book cover


Prior to reading The Story of Snow, do a quick nonfiction feature walk (similar to a picture walk expanded to include other nonfiction text features). Then, ask your students what questions they have before reading. Follow up by asking which nonfiction text feature sparked their interest in each question.

If the spark was not a nonfiction text feature, take a moment to have the student explain how they know their question is related to the topic of the text.  This helps to reinforce the idea that our thinking about reading should be strongly connected to the evidence we see within the text, or connected to the title/topic of the text.

The Story of Snow pre reading questioning anchor chart

Keep the questioning anchor chart handy so answers can be recorded and you can add additional questions during and after reading the text.

Post It Adhesive Roll used to cover headings in informational text.

Once the “before reading” questions are added to your class anchor chart, take a moment to cover the headings on each page. To do so, cut the sticky part off a large Post-It note and use it as a removable sticker to cover each heading. You can also use this Post-it Full Adhesive Roll to make your life easier.

Post It Adhesive Roll A Must have teacher tool

This will allow you to read the details listed under each heading and ask your students to identify the main idea described on each page.  Peel off the Post-it to reveal each heading so students can check the accuracy of their thinking.

Post It Adhesive Roll being pulled of page of book.

Of course, you’ll want to model this skill for your students by thinking aloud as you identify the main ideas on the first couple pages. Then gradually place the responsibility in their hands. You may even want to have students independently write the main idea of the last page on a Post-it as a quick exit slip assessment.

Post it pad with main idea and supporting details from informational text.

This mini lesson can serve as a reference during future nonfiction reading practice sessions using the same format. The beauty of this lesson format is that is can be applied to any nonfiction text, but The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder is particularly perfect if you plan to teach these skills during the chilly winter months.


To learn about other read alouds for the month of January, visit the rest of our Books Teachers Love posts here. To read my Books Teachers Love posts for other months, click here.

Books Teachers Love Series Header

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to make it easier for you find the organizational tools shared in this post. To see all my favorite Amazon finds, visit my Amazon Influencer page here.


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5 Responses

  1. I am doing a unit on Snowflake Bentley in second grade ELA. the class is completely engaged. I’m going to look for The Story of Snow to go along with that unit for next year. I love the Post It tape roll idea!

I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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