Non-fiction is difficult to read for many students; therefore, teaching specific strategies when reading non-fiction enables the readers access to the material. The book Notice and Note (Strategies for Non-fiction Reading) by Beers and Probst, illustrates the importance of students taking the time to truly notice what they are reading and take special note of it. Giving particular elements of which students need to pay particular attention forces students to read more closely.
One strategy is that of Statistics and Numbers. Statistics and Numbers provide data and a means for students to discover significant information. The solar system packet was designed with this strategy in mind. Space is expansive and it is difficult to truly understand the size of the universe. The students will read about the size of the universe, sun and the planets and the goal while reading is for the students to focus on the statistics and numbers and express an understanding of the vastness of space.
A second strategy is that of Word Gaps. Non-fiction uses technical vocabulary that may be challenging for readers. The students need to determine if the technical vocabulary is key to understanding the information or if it is not. If it is vital to understanding the meaning, then students must use context clues or resort to looking up the meaning of the word if needed. This strategy also has students slowing down their reading for a deeper understanding.