I’ll be starting my informational ABC book unit next week. I read nonfiction ABC books to my students throughout the week and they choose a topic to research and write their own ABC book about. It is always a fun opportunity for informational writing! My only rule is that they write about a topic they already know a lot about. They will research their topic to learn more but I believe in teaching my kids that “good writers write about things they know.” At this age, it is so important that the topics they choose are interesting to them. On a side note, I used this unit with my first graders as well and they also were very successful with this! In first grade, we wrote one sentence for every letter. In second grade, I encourage more information and detail for each page.
Here are some of the books I read aloud to my students during this unit:
Some students get overwhelmed at first by the thought of writing a page for every letter in the alphabet. However, we talk right away together and I explain they do not need to write a whole page for each letter – only a couple sentences. (You will find your great writers will go writing-crazy though! It is very exciting!) After some read alouds, I model a planning page I use to create my own ABC book for them. Last year, I chose the town I live in as my topic. I went through my planning page and chose things about my town that started with the letters a-z. (example: G is for geese. There are many geese that live by the lake in my backyard. These geese originated from Canada. etc. etc. etc.) You will need to help your kiddos out with the letters x, and z – they are always tough. We cheat a little and turn x into eXciting haha.)
Here is the planning page I use with my students. Once their planning page is done, they begin writing their books by extending each letter into a sentence or two. 🙂 Click on the planning page to use this with your students.