One of the biggest shifts in the new English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is exposing children to a balance of fiction and non-fiction. (Read about other big shifts here and here.) We all have great lists of books we like and remember from our childhood that are fiction. This category of reading includes, stories, picture-books and novels. Finding great non-fiction can be a bit challenging, if like me, your kids are “ravenous readers” and you find it hard enough to keep up with your kids reading and interests.
One way I solve this problem is by subscribing to a variety of great kids magazines. Whether we’ve had a chance to visit the book store or library or not, each and every month a new supply of great reading arrives on our doorstep. The variety of subject matter is amazing! I can’t tell you how many times my kids have taught me an interesting fact, only to ask, “Where did you learn that?” and have them reply, “I read it in _______ magazine.” Wow!
My girls grew up reading kids magazines. Over the years, I’ve seen how great kids magazines have a huge impact on motivating my kids to read new and challenging material. Even though my girls read a wide variety of magazines, which are different in many ways, there are many common elements in all their magazines. I’ve decide to highlight three of my girls’ favorite magazines to illustrate qualities of what makes great nonfiction reading for kids, so that other parents and educators have concrete examples of what to look for when choosing nonfiction magazines and books for their children and students.
Great Nonfiction Kids Magazines
What makes good Nonfiction Reading for kids?
Three of our family’s favorite kids magazine are science magazines: Ranger Rick, Ask and Muse. Here are some of the elements that make them great reads:
- Great Nonfiction Content – Reading about animals is a great way to expose kids to engaging nonfiction content.
- Academic Language – Kids increase their academic vocabulary and increase their ability to read more challenging science texts.
- Scientific Concepts – Kids expand their knowledge of scientific concepts which will better prepare them for future success in school.
- Varied Writing Types – A mix of comics, articles and stories focused around a theme or question gives kids experience in reading a wide range of text types.
- High Impact Visuals – Lots of visuals make reading fun and support readers in taking on more complex texts.
- High Interest Topics – Kid-friendly content about bugs, extreme animals and weird science, engages even the most reluctant readers.