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Nonfiction Pyramid

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Nonfiction Pyramid

Grades 3 – 8
Printout Type Graphic Organizer
Nonfiction Pyramid



After students read an article or other work of nonfiction, they can use the Nonfiction Pyramid to reflect on key ideas and details in the text.

This printout has been reproduced from the following book: Ellery, V., & Rosenboom, J.L. (2011). Sustaining strategic readers: Techniques for supporting content literacy in grades 6-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Asssociation.

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Be sure students are familiar with the key nonfiction concepts implied by the Nonfiction Pyramidómain idea, supporting details, authorís purpose, and readerís aids. †Then read a short article or book chapter together and use the Nonfiction Pyramid to reinforce those concepts and model how the printout helps you think of all the parts of the text and put them together .

  • The first line will contain one major idea of the article or text.
  • The second ask students to describe a supporting detail related to that first main idea.
  • On the third line, students use three words to offer another main idea.
  • On the fourth line, students develop that main idea with four supporting details.
  • Students then use five words to express the authorís purpose.
  • On the sixth line, students share six important vocabulary words important to the topic.
  • On next line, students share seven words related to important readerís aids, such as headings, images, captions, charts, and graphs.

Students can use their pyramids to provide informal oral summaries of what theyíve read or as starting points for more extensive writing.


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  • Once students understand how the Nonfiction Pyramid helps them reflect on key elements of an article or chapter, invite them to use the structure to plan writing of their own.
  • After using the Nonfiction Pyramid a few times, ask students to consider what elements are missing from the Pyramid that they might like to add. †Where would they go?


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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using THIEVES to Preview Nonfiction Texts

Students become "thieves" in this lesson as they use a previewing strategy to "steal" information from textbooks and other nonfiction texts before actually reading them.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Traveling Terrain: Comprehending Nonfiction Text on the Web

Students locate specific information, identify text features of nonfiction text, and write to generalize information on related topics.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Timelines and Texts: Motivating Students to Read Nonfiction

In an effort to help motivate students to read nonfiction, students are challenged to use a timeline to help them name the year when certain products were invented.