I used the little Core Knowledge books for 2nd Grade during my Guided Reading time. I was able to differentiate for my advanced learners by letting them work independently, but I was also able to work to support my on-level and struggling students at our group work time.
We focused on pulling details from the text as notes, so they weren't copying and they had to critically think about what the most important words were to convey the details. I was able to support vocabulary development, decoding strategies, as well as discussions on the topic.
I found it was best to use these books after I'd already taught the subject or in conjunction with the lessons to allow students to make deeper connections on the topics. They felt very accomplished when they were able to take notes on their own!