Blending Fiction and Nonfiction to Improve Comprehension and Writing Skills

Students will be able to:

  • Use fiction to begin discussion of a content area topic and to generate questions about the topic

  • Use nonfiction to answer the questions they have about the content area subject

  • Conduct Internet research to further explore the subject and to resolve any questions left unanswered by the nonfiction text

  • Demonstrate their knowledge on the subject and an understanding of the basic elements of fiction and nonfiction:

–By contributing to the creation of a class chart

–By writing an original piece that features both narrative and expository elements


1.Using the Know-What-Learn (K-W-L) method, begin class with a discussion of what the students already know about the topic and generate a list on the board or projector.

[Teacher's note: Use of the K-W-L method is explained in the article cited in the From Theory to Practice section of this lesson. The article also discusses several other strategies that work well with paired texts (i.e., Venn diagramming, directed reading-thinking activity, webbing, and activating prior knowledge). You might use any of these strategies as a substitute or supplement in this lesson.]

2.Ask students what questions they have about the topic? What would they like to learn? List students' ideas and questions in a separate column.

3.Depending on grade level and text availability, read the fiction text aloud or have your students read the text silently. If you are reading aloud, stop along the way to fill in a third column of new facts and information that address the questions asked in the second column. If the students have finished reading silently, generate the third column as a class.

4.Are there any questions in the second column still unanswered? In addition, ask students if they have any new questions to add to the list. At this stage, there should still be a lot left to discover. Explain that fiction is enjoyable, but it may not be the best source for gathering factual information. Let them know that in the next class session they will be turning to a nonfiction text to further explore the topic.


The following outline is approximate. You may need to adjust the number of days depending on the length of texts and how much in-class time you can devote to reading the texts. Additional time may also be needed to allow for student writing. Depending on the characteristics of your classroom and the abilities of your students, this writing time will vary. It can take one class period for reading and another one for writing.


  • A fiction and text on a given topic chosen by the teacher.

  • Chart paper, or any other type of paper (students get to pick). 

  • Student writing supplies (pencils, markers, highlighters or pens).


Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of Puerto Rico, United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

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