Using Information Books in the Classroom: Helpful Hints :: NEWS

Using Information Books in the Classroom: Helpful Hints

12 October 2021 Share

The shortlist for the Information Book Award (IBA) 2021 has now been published, accompanied with FREE resources for the school library or classroom.

In advance of the winner being announced in November, the SLA spoke to the judging panel to get their helpful hints for using information books in the classroom and generating pupils’ interest in voting for the IBA Children’s Choice Award.  

Create a mini display for the staffroom to promote the books to the teachers, with the SLA pre-prepared lesson plans printed out, and a poster explaining what you and the IBA can offer.  This could be a whole-class lesson exploring these shortlisted books, or a small group extension task. Photocopy front covers and inside pages if books need to stay in the library. Send an email explaining the display to let staff know what is available and encourage them to speak to you about it. Follow up a week later. Try to not get disheartened if they say they don't have time right now; instead, attempt to book them in for another time – even if it is this time in the term next year! 

Speak to your curriculum plan leaders about when they cover navigating information texts during the school year, then ask to be a part of this scheme of work. Use the IBA books and resources, even if the lessons are not running when the children can vote, as this will build engagement with you and the award. Then when the new long and short lists are announced, you can go back to the teachers and students who want to take part, and host a lunchtime reading club or use part of form time if you can't take up academic lesson time. 

Regularly read outstanding information books aloud. Allowing children and young people to listen to and be immersed in the language of non-fiction will influence their own ability to use information texts. Books could be chosen to introduce or complement a topic being studied at the time, or to simply promote a text of general interest. A well-chosen book is likely to stimulate questions and promote discussion. 

Adapt the Reading Game (Carel Press) to cover subjects (rather than literary genres). Get students to move around each subject station (perhaps in twos or threes) and choose the best of three or four books on the same topic using your own adapted criteria (cover or visual impact, blurb or introduction, subject coverage, for example). You could also use this as an opportunity to discuss the common features of information books and general criteria for selection; and the activity is an excellent way to promote interest in different books to borrow. 

Run a browsing and book reviewing session to explore unusual or innovative information books. Look out for What on Earth’s Timeline Wallbooks; list books such as Britannica Books’ Listified! or Macmillan’s Lists for Curious Kids series; books which use infographics ranging from b small’s Geographics series to Lonely Planet’s Infographic Guide to the Globe; flap books for all ages including Usborne’s wide selection; verse texts; and graphic non-fiction. 

Create a quiz based on the books you share with your class. Ask them to attempt the quiz before introducing the books (and voting if relevant) and then to share and self-mark their answers at the end of the session. This works well with secondary students who may be looking at all three age categories of the Information Book Award. 

Explore National Non-Fiction November, organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. There is a different theme each year and a programme of blogs, book lists, related resources, giveaways, and competitions. 

For more information on the IBA, including this year's shortlist and opportunities for you to get involved, please visit: