• Literacy Strategies for Reading and Understanding Nonfiction Texts in the Elementary Grades

      Pelttari, Carole; Vanacore, Melody L.; The College at Brockport (2015-10-01)
      Abstract Elementary teachers must educate their students to read and understand nonfiction text so they will not only be successful in elementary school, but will also be prepared for the increased demands placed on them in the upper grades and beyond. This literature review investigated the question, what are the most effective literacy strategies teachers can use to better teach the reading of nonfiction texts to elementary students? Data collection was accomplished by gathering academic, peer reviewed articles and scholarly texts containing information on teaching nonfiction to elementary students. The data was then analyzed through content analysis for appropriate strategies and teaching methods. The research presented two main factors which would help students to read and understand nonfiction text. The first factor consisted of aspects of teacher instruction including selection of texts, explicit teaching, teaching methods, and reflection. The second factor, strategy instruction, included a variety of strategies that could be used by students to increase comprehension of nonfiction text. These instructional strategies, grouped by theme, included comprehension, text structure, text features and elements, twin texts, pre-/during/post, oral, and vocabulary. Recommendations are that students should be exposed to numerous and varied nonfiction texts, teachers should be provided with professional development, instructors should maintain a variety of methods and strategies to use as needed, and researchers should investigate the teaching of nonfiction further. Educators succeed when they scaffold student learning, and with repeated use, students will internalize expository text reading skills and strategies, allowing for transfer and continued student success as they become lifelong learners.