Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Contributor: Kim Trexler. Lesson ID: 10455

Ever see dancing penguins? I mean in real life, not movies! Ever read about real penguins? One is fiction, one is nonfiction. Using videos, books, and sticky notes, learn about fiction and nonfiction!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
PreK/K, Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What type of book do you prefer, fiction or nonfiction? Maybe you're not sure. Watch a short Fiction vs Non Fiction video clip about two penguin movies and see which one you like better!

Fiction vs Non Fiction Movies:

Fiction or Nonfiction?

Which movie did you like more? Did you enjoy watching the first movie clip with talking, singing, and dancing penguins? Then you probably like fiction books.

Did you like the second penguin movie clip with someone talking about real penguins in their natural habitat? Then you probably like nonfiction books!

Now, let's take a closer look at the similarities and differences between fiction and nonfiction books.

Fiction stories are make-believe. The author uses his or her imagination to create the story. If you look at the pictures in a fictional story, they usually show something that is not real or something that cannot exist in real life. For example, in the book, Go, Dog, Go! By P.D. Eastman, there are pictures of talking dogs and dogs driving cars! This book is definitely fiction. Why? Dogs don’t drive cars! Right?

Nonfiction stories are real or true stories. The author of nonfiction books writes about something that really happened or gives the reader information about something. The pictures in these books are real and are usually photos. An example of a nonfiction book is one that has a picture of something real, like a photo of a frog on the cover, and gives you facts about that real thing.

Watch the following video to learn more about fiction and nonfiction books. You might even start to sing along by the end of the video! Fiction vs. Non fiction:


Now, let's think about the two penguin videos. Do you know which one is fiction and which one is nonfiction? The first penguin video clip is make-believe or fiction. Why? The penguins are cartoon characters and they are talking. That can't really happen, right? What are some other reasons you think it is fiction? Talk to your teacher aboutyour ideas!

The second penguin video is real or nonfiction. Why? The penguins are shown in their natural habitat and the video gives information about penguins. What are some other reasons you think it is nonfiction?

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Now that you know that fiction is make-believe and nonfiction is real, what is the purpose of each and what are some of the characteristics of each? First, go and collect some books from your home library. Try and pick out a few books of each genre, fiction and nonfiction. Then write the word “Fiction” or “Nonfiction” on a sticky note and attach it to the correct book. You will go back over your choices after watching this very interesting and informative video about fiction and nonfiction stories.

Watch Sparkley Barkley's Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction (below) with your teacher, then discuss the answers to these questions:

  • What is the purpose of reading fiction?
  • What is the purpose of reading nonfiction?
  • What are some characteristics of fiction?
  • What are some characteristics of nonfiction?


Wasn’t that an interesting video about fiction vs. nonfiction?

Did you answer the questions to help you learn the purpose of reading fiction and nonfiction? Did you learn what fiction and nonfiction look like in books? Great Job!

Now go back to the books you labeled with either fiction or nonfiction sticky notes. Do you want to change any of them? Why? Discuss your reasons with your teacher.

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