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Literary Nonfiction in
the Classroom
IRA Regional Conference
Billings, Montana
October 2007
Presented by
Joy Dewing
Contact Info



Joy Dewing
Central Middle School, Kokomo, Indiana
[email protected]
What is literary nonfiction?



One of the “fuzzy” genres
Nonfiction that reads like fiction and includes
elements of fiction (plot, characters, conflict,
etc.)
Interesting!
Why should I teach Literary
Nonfiction?


Up to 70% of material on standardized tests in
nonfiction
Students think nonfiction is “boring”

They are used to reading textbooks and
encyclopedias for nonfiction
Why should I teach literary
nonfiction?


It is more interesting to read than a textbook or
an encyclopedia
It models good nonfiction writing for students
Text Sets – Grouping fiction and
nonfiction together

An American Plague by Jim Murphy & Fever,
1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Text Sets – Grouping fiction and
nonfiction together
Fireflies in the Night by Judy Hawes
 Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell
Freedman & A. Lincoln and Me Louise
Borden
 When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan &
The Voice That Challenged a Nation by ?????
 Blizzard! By Jim Murphy & Blizzard’s Wake
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Picture Books
“Chapter Books”
Memoir vs. Personal Narrative


“It is not what happens, but the person to
whom things happen.” ~ Virginia Woolf
“When children put their lives on the page, they
often leave out one person – themselves.” ~
Lucy Calkins
Examples of Memoirs

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Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl
Wait Until Next Year by Doreen Kearns
Looking Back by Lois Lowry
Homesick My Own Story by Jean Fritz
Allen Say books
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