Come Read With Me - Understanding Non-Fiction
6/21/2010 6:39:07 PM -
As we continue our discussion on comprehension strategies, we want to take a look at how to handle non-fiction books.
As students, the majority of books that you deal with on the day-to-day basis happen to be non-fiction. History, geography, grammar, science, citizenship education and all the other textbooks are non-fiction.
Non-fictions deal with concepts and facts. How do you read non-fictions? It is obvious that you do not read a history of geography book in the same way as you would read a story book because they are not written in the same way.
Non-fictions give information or expose to us certain things. This means that, they explain or provide information on the topics they deal with. Writings that provide detailed description of theories, problems, events, or ideas are expository in genre.
By the way, the word ‘expository’ is an adjective from the noun ‘exposition’ and the verb ‘expose’.
So, now let us get back to our comprehension strategies. Let us assume that I am reading the topic ‘Photosynthesis’ in my science textbook; how do I make sure that I can understand it well?
I know that the topic ‘photosynthesis’ is written as an expository non-fiction work since it is science. I expect the author (writer) to provide detailed explanation or description.
The first step is to turn the topic into a question. So I come up with this simple question: “What is photosynthesis?” As I read, I try to look for any details that will provide me with the answer.
The next step is to know how the information the author is providing is organised. So, how is it organised? The information in expository text is often organised in a form of hierarchy or steps such as this: the topic – sub-topic - main idea – details or examples.
In our example, the topic is “Photosynthesis”. The author will formally introduce the topic in the introduction to give us an idea of what we are going to learn.
After the introductory paragraph, each of the paragraphs that follow will deal with one main idea. The author will state a main idea and then provide details and sometimes examples to explain it.