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Nonfiction is key to inspiring learners

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In the U.S. education sector, the Common Core Standards are commonplace. In the case of increasing Nonfiction reading, the Standards are a catalyst for more aware and inspired students.

More nonfiction texts today read like a literature novel. The subsection, Narrative Nonfiction gives a home to such reads. Take for example, Omnivore’s Dilemma or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Two nonfiction titles that read like fiction. Learning how our society produces food and the morality of science not only provides knowledge that would otherwise be overlooked by an average middle school student, but asks adolescents and teens to delve into facts and discover a relation to the story and its “characters”, building an empathetic individual.

The degree of interest a student may take in these texts is determined by the teacher. The Standards allow a teacher to embed inspiration and truth in his or her lessons. Public speaking is not falling by the wayside anytime soon. Presenting to an audience or group is a trait that strengthens confidence, births success. Show a TED talk or present excerpts from the book, How to Deliver a TED Talk, to challenge students to think at a high level. Asking them to apply these lessons to their own lives or community then drives inquiry and change.

Recently, Business Insider published the article, “45 Successful People Share The Best Advice They've Ever Received” by Richard Feloni. Again, more highly successful and inspirational people described a mentor or teacher who inspired them. Each entry is short and succinct, sometimes noting a famous poem or author that they remember growing up. Highlighting just one person or asking students to browse and find one person who speaks to them can lead to endless learning opportunities in any subject area.

The Internet and social media provide endless opportunities to find snippets of illumination. Here are a few favorite links for finding influential and smart reads:

Huffington Post’s Becoming Fearless section
Business Insider’s Strategy section
TED.com

A lifelong learner is one who continues to seek greatness through the discoveries of himself and others. Reading and observation is at the core of any student-- no matter the age.

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