Friday, February 10, 2017

Nonfiction Books for Independent Reading in Second Grade - #nf10for10

Dear Betsy,

You sent me a message a few weeks ago asking me about reading levels in second grade and thinking about the reading your own special boy is doing.   Learning to read is a journey and you've mentioned it's a struggle over the years.  This night we chatted you said he had brought home a nonfiction book and nonfiction is hard.  You made me stop and think.  Nonfiction can be hard but does it have to be?  I wondered how can we simplify it a bit for those early readers so they can have some independence.  

My wondering turned into collecting books I thought your special boy might be able to read.  You'll notice the nonfiction features are simple and not hectic busy.  The text is larger, sometimes with a pattern and definitely pages with white space.  I love white space!  You will notice many of these are books have a series/collection from the same publisher giving you way more than ten ideas, maybe 100.  Some of these books are old and dear to my book loving heart.  I picked books that might spark some interest in fun animals, animals you might see while camping, and a few that could connect to your gardening.  

These are all books I have on my shelves right now and I can send them over to you via school mail. Just let me know.

Your friend,

BAT LOVES THE NIGHT by Nicole Davies

narrative format sharing bats nightly activity
tidbits of facts here and there
soft illustrations


I love Joy Cowley books!
photographs are quite fascinating
carefully chosen words for accessibility

Joy Cowley again!
more fascinating photographs
text a bit easier

HOW A SEED GROWS by Helen J Jordan

illustrations tell a story, maybe an early narrative
reader follows the journey of a few different seeds
might help readers enjoy nonfiction

RACCOONS by William John Ripple
lots of interesting facts
a sentence of two on a page
pure nonfiction for early readers

Seed to Sunflower by Camilla de al Bedovere
lots of nonfiction text
beautiful photographs
you'll want to grow sunflowers

Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins
beautiful playful language
narrative format
subtle facts

Opossums by Mary R. Dunn
an animal I wouldn't dream to think about
filled with interesting facts
easily accessible for early readers
Busy Squirrels by Melvin and Gilda Berger
probably an easy read - confidence builder
up close photos
one sentence per page

My tenth book for second grade readers might require a treasure hunt - Where Do Birds Live? by Ron Hirschi.  It appears to be out of print.  Lovely photographs, one line of text, with more at the end of the book.  I hope you can find it at the library or you can borrow mine.



  1. So important to have accessible books! I really want to find Fabulous Frogs, it looks fantastic!

  2. So true - that this list just multiplies with extra titles in the series! I particularly love Nicola Davies as an author for this age group.

  3. I have a second grade granddaughter who loves bats, and I purchased Bat Loves The Night for her, a just-right book for sure! Thanks for all the others, too, noted, Mandy. Nice list!

  4. This is a book list that captures much of my environment, which will be a big part of my granddaughter's experiences. I have created a wish list just for her and I am using our community to curate titles for her! So much fun!
    Thanks for this collection Mandy. I too love Joy Cowley. :)

  5. Love the Pebble and Go Pebble book collections. They are great books for young readers!

  6. Love all of your book suggestions... I can't wait to check out Fabulous Frogs!

  7. Thanks Mandy. I plan to share this with second grade teachers I will be working with next Wednesday. So timely!

  8. Animal books are always very popular with my students. I can't wait to find some of these and share them at school. Great list!

  9. This list is so personal and we love the way you wrote this post as a letter. Creating lists of books with particular children in mind shows them how much we care - "I saw this book and thought of you."