Fiction reaches beyond the imagination.
Learning compare fiction and nonfiction is a skill that develops over a child’s school career. Often, children learn this skill early in their school years, but it reappears when children begin to write in later grades. Teaching the difference between fiction and nonfiction is important so children will be able to intelligently analyze a piece of work.
Conduct an Interview
Instruct children to conduct two interviews. The first interview will include real questions and will be delivered to another student. For example, the students will interview each other about school or a specific hobby. Next, instruct students to create an interview for their favorite movie or cartoon character. The chosen individual must not be based on a real person. The students will complete the interview questions and answers based on their knowledge of the fictional character. As a class, review the separate interviews and discuss what elements make the nonfiction interview different from the fiction interview.
Writing an Essay
In short sentences or paragraphs, instruct students to write a story. The story can be based on any piece of fact or real life scenario, but all the characters must have made-up names. Assign a small research paper for the students, such as a short write-up of a page in their history books. Use the research paper and the story essay to compare fiction and nonfiction. Discuss places where fiction and nonfiction are found, such as novels or textbooks.
This activity requires large drawing paper and markers. Instruct students to draw a Venn diagram on the paper, which is a chart with two circles that overlap. Tell them to label the diagram “Expectations from Reading” and the circles “Fiction” and “Nonfiction.” The students will make a fiction and nonfiction list separate from the Venn diagram, writing down all the items they expect when reading each type of writing. The lists will then be used to fill in the Venn diagram, with similarities placed inside the overlap and differences placed outside the overlap.
Prepare an area for students to borrow books from the classroom supply and require students to determine the type of book chosen at checkout. The student will choose a book from the general reading area and fill out a checkout slip with the name, date and type of book — fiction or nonfiction. The teacher will need to make sure there are plenty of both types of book to make the activity successful. The student fills out the card and submits it to the teacher for approval before checking out the book.