H is for Honor

Non Fiction Reading Instruction Guide

H is for Honor

This nonfiction text takes an intrinsic look at all of the military branches of the United States. Children learn the true definition of what it means to be a Veteran and someone's personal hero. Readers learn the true definition of the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veteran's Day. Also, this nonfiction texts takes a peak into what life it like for military families on a day-to-day basis.

Scillian, D., & Juhasz, V. (2006). H is for honor: A military family alphabet. Chelsea, Mich.: Sleeping Bear Press.

Non Fiction Text Elements and Structures

Enumeration: A main idea is supported by a list of details and examples.

ex. Alphabetic organization of the text.

Vocabulary: Labels for ideas or concepts.

ex. Saluting, Veterans, Battalions, Squadrons

Author's purpose: To inform the reader of a topic.

ex. Educating readers on the different branches of the military.

Illustrations: Helps you know what something looks like.

ex. Showing a Navy uniform check lineup to further understanding.

Special Print: When a word is bold, italics, or is underlined, it's important for the reader to know.

ex. Veteran's Day: People the represent different eras, wars and experiences, but are all bound by giving service.

Description/List Structure: Author's purpose is to present a large quantity of information to the reader in the most organized way (typically what is the most important to know).

ex. List of most important terms and concepts in alphabetic form

Reading Strategies

Graffiti table:

Step 1-At your guided or small reading group table, lay out butcher (or similar type) paper. Tape paper down and cut around the shape of the table.

Step 2-Each person will be assigned a section of the nonfiction text that is being read during the session, and they are going to become the experts on that section.

-The students are allowed to jot down notes and other important information as they are reading directly onto the butcher paper.

Step 3-Once the students finish their section, they should look at their notes and explain in more detail the main points/ideas.

-The students are then encouraged to draw an illustration around their notes that would highlight or enhance their section.

Step 4-The students are then asked to walk around the table and read over their peer’s information.

-The graffiti paper can be displayed as a reminder in or out of the classroom.

Example at bottom of page.


Connect and Apply

PART 1: Making Personal Connections

Step 1: Read the text you've selected aloud with students.

Step 2: Share a personal experience that helps you relate to the reading.

Step 3: Use the following prompts and questions to help students make connections for themselves:

· Did you ever have a similar experience? How did you feel? What did you do?

· How was your situation the same? Different?

· Did you connect to any of the decisions the people you read about made?

· What feelings did the reading raise? Why?

· How is your family the same or different from the one you read about?

· Did you learn anything about yourself by reading about what happened or what people did?

Example at bottom of page.

PART 2: Making Connections to Daily Life

Step 1: Have students read their nonfiction assignment.

Step 2: Highlight topics from the reading that are important. Write these on chart paper

Step 3: Create a statement that compels students to connect the topics to their own lives.

Step 4: Invite students to share how these issues could influence their own lives. Chart student feedback.

PART 3: Making Connections to Other Texts

Step 1: Use a read-aloud to model how to connect two or more texts. The read-aloud should have something in common with a previous text your students have studied.

Step 2: Thinking aloud, point out something about the read-aloud that calls to mind the previous text.

Step 3: Use the following questions to prompt students to make connections between texts:

· Do the authors have a common purpose?

· Were any of the characters in similar situations? Compare how each handled the situation.

· Did you find similar themes? Settings? Problems?

· Did magazine articles offer new information about the topic in your book?

· How did each text improve your understanding of the topic?

Example at bottom of page.



An acronym for title, headings, introduction, every first sentence in a paragraph, visuals and vocabulary, end-of-chapter questions, and summary, students are guided through a preview of a nonfiction text. This strategy can be used in a whole group setting.


Students will

  • Brainstorm previewing strategies
  • Be able to identify the elements of the THIEVES acronym by configuring a semantic map or web

Step 1

Announce to students that they are about to become thieves. Explain that they will learn how to "steal" information from texts before they actually read a chapter or article. If students are familiar with the term previewing, encourage them to share strategies they use to preview a chapter. If they are not familiar with previewing, ask them to brainstorm ideas on how they might look through a chapter before they begin reading to get an idea of what it is about. Discuss why previewing is a helpful reading strategy. Lead them to discover that previewing will help them activate prior knowledge, set a purpose for reading, and set expectations for reading so that they can better understand the concepts they are about to encounter.

Step 2

While brainstorming, encourage students to peruse a chapter they are about to encounter in their social studies or science textbook. With their help and suggestions, identify the elements that make up the THIEVES acronym. Students should fill in the handout as the teacher fills in the transparency interactively with the class. Inform students they will be using the Becoming THIEVES handout to perform THIEVES on future texts throughout the school year so they should take careful notes and ask questions as necessary. Emphasize to students that they may not find all of the THIEVES elements in every nonfiction text that they read.

Step 3

After each element is identified, configure a semantic map or web of the elements by drawing lines out from each element and adding details to describe what information could be gathered from each one. Add details appropriate to the level of the class. Students should copy the semantic map or web on the back of their Becoming THIEVES handout to use for future reference.

Step 4

Next, tell students that you will think aloud for them while you perform THIEVES on the chapter they have been perusing. Encourage them to listen carefully because they will be performing the strategy themselves on Session 2 of the lesson and throughout the rest of the school year. To guide you, put the transparency for The Elements of THIEVES handout on the projector. Answer the questions on the sheet and literally think out loud so students can follow your logic as you apply the strategy.

Step 5

Summarize with students what they have learned about previewing texts using the THIEVES strategy.

Pop Up Thoughts-

Used to get readers to think about the text, making connections to the texts.

Step 1- Model a portion of nonfiction text and say that great readers make many connections while reading.

Step 2- As you read aloud pause and mark on a sticky note the symbols for thoughts you have.

Sep 3- Have students work in pairs to mark their texts with sticky notes for their pop up thoughts.

Step 4- Discuss and reflect on the coded thoughts and how making those notes help readers better understand nonfiction texts.

Oczkus, Lori (2011). Literacy survival tips for new teachers! http://tcsldes.sharpschool.net/UserFiles/Servers/Server_981273/File/Staff%20Directory/Instructional%20Support/April%20Willard/TOP%205%20Strategies%20for%20Comp%20Informational%20Text.pdf International Reading Association

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Reader Response Techniques

Text Set

"A Walk in My Shoes: Military Life" Full Documentary. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqvHKJvEWtU.
This documentary follows the lives of service men, women, and families as they live their lives in the military. This video is a great way for students to see what life is like for families who have service men and women.

Brott, P. (2010). Military life: Stories and poems for children. St. Paul., MN: Elva Resa Pub.
This text is a collection of real life stories and poems about life in a military family. It provides readers with the understanding of what life is like and the knowledge of what life entails. It is an engaging way to keep students knowledgeable about the topic.

Grodin, E., & Juhasz, V. (2004). D is for democracy: A citizen's alphabet. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
This text teaches students about our country's government system and why so many people join the armed forces to protect this country. The author presents the information in a fun and exciting way that keeps the reader engaged.

Isacson, A., & Olson, J. (1999). Just the Facts: A Civilian's Guide to US Defense and Security Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. Latin America Working Group.

This particular text looks at what it is exactly like to be in the navy, army, special ops, Marine, Air force (complete with ranking). Specific laws and privileges are discussed. Training is also discussed in detail. Interviews from real veterans

King Gilbert, (2011). Remembering Henry Johnson the Soldier Called Back Death http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/remembering-henry-johnson-the-soldier-called-black-death-117386701/?no-ist Smithsonian.com

Article about Henry Johnson who suffered 21 wounds and rescued soldiers while repelling an enemy raid who comes home to not be treated as a hero.

Kyle, C., & McEwen, S. (2013). American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History. alima.

A real life example of a “hero”. This is something that students can look to they have difficulty coming up with a relevant, true life example. Speaks to the strain military can put on a marriage and what it's like to be the best sniper of all time

Moore, Wes (2014). How to Talk to War Veterans About the War https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P04stEjJ9E Ted Talk.

A Ted Talk about the effects of war on Veterans and how to engage them about what they have been through in a caring way.

Scillian, D., & Carroll, P. (2001). A is for America: An American alphabet. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.

A is for America: An American Alphabet by Devon Scillian teaches readers about the history of the United States of America. The information is presented in a engaging and poetic way in order to keep students excited about the history of our country. It also gives readers an understanding as to why so many people join the armed forces in order to protect this country and its citizens.

Wasdin, H., & Templin, S. (2012). I am a SEAL Team Six warrior: Memoirs of an American soldier. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

This is the story of Howard Wasdin and his experience before and after joining the Navy Seals. The Navy Seals has a very difficult training program and this is an autobiographical account of this time. This text includes memoirs of this American solider and the hardships that he needed to face. Because of its nature, this keeps students engaged while experiencing a first hand account of life in the Navy Seals.

(2011). Liberty Kids. http://www.libertyskids.com/index.htmlCookie Jar Entertainment.

An entertaining way to teach history using cartoons and games to engage young learners.

Primary Sources

Library Guide of Washington

This particular website contains scanned in records of diaries, maps, and other artifacts from nearly every war and branch of military. http://guides.lib.washington.edu/content.php?pid=90255&sid=687755

Transitioning Vets Podcast

This podcast discusses various situations concerning Veterans of our nation.


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How this all fits into Common Core

Below are a few concrete examples of related Common Core standards. Students are able to use nonfiction features to further their efficiently further their learning. H For Honor presents a point of view and then allows readers to form their own opinion via personal or other text connections. This text also presents information in a variety of ways, which presents more mediums for students to connect to.

Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.

This text utilizes side bars, bold text and an easy-to-follow organization of text. This efficiently presents the text to the reader.

Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

This non-fiction text presents information. The instances presented in the text allow for students to form their own opinion and personal connections. Also, all content is factual, leaving the author very unbiased in his works.

Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

When considering the exercises paired with this text (and our 10 suggested texts), students are encouraged to compare and contrast nonfiction information.

Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Illustrations are paired with this text to further learning. Side bars are also present to further extend presented text(s).



Danielle Greer, Melissa Smith, Kylie Hart