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10 nonfiction articles you didn’t know kids were reading

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

Nonfiction often gets a bad rap as stuffy, boring, and yawn-inducing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Great nonfiction content can take the form of a thrilling adventure story, a scary tale around a campfire, or an intriguing true story that took place in a different era. Using data from What Kids Are Reading, we’ve gathered ten nonfiction articles that are popular with K–12 students nationwide that you might be surprised are as popular as they are! Enjoy!

Alaska Mom Wants Daughter's Name to Be Awesome

Popular with third, fourth, and fifth graders, a mom in Alaska wants to legally change her daughter’s middle name to “Awesome”.

Harp Player Soothes Apes at Zoo

An elementary school favorite, Terri Tacheny explains why apes at the Como Zoo enjoy the harp and how they react.

“Combing” Through Light May Produce a Faster, More Powerful Internet

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a faster WiFi connection? Popular with high school students, this article explores how people are working together to create a faster, more powerful Internet.

Get Ready for Snack Bars Made from Bugs

Would you be comfortable eating insects? This article dives into Exo bars and how they’re made from crickets.

Bigfoot Hair Samples Mostly from Bears

Bigfoot continues to spark curiosity. This article details the recent testing of hair found in forests that were argued to be from Bigfoot.

Monkeys Take Selfies, Creating Copyright Dispute

What do you do when a monkey takes a selfie with your camera? Photographer David Slater and Wikimedia Foundation took it to court, unsure of who owned the rights to the bizarre photo.

Here’s a Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Popular with high school students, this article explores the possibility of eliminating plastic water bottles with new research on spherification.

Government Wants to Make Cars Talk to Each Other

A highly-read article by new and soon-to-be drivers, this article outlines safety technology the government is hoping car manufactures make standard.

Can This Toilet Save Millions of Lives?

More than 2.5 million people don’t have access to clean water. Knowing this, teams set out to design a toilet that doesn’t use water.

Eating Insects Is Good for You and the World

Should we eat more insects and less red meat? This article weighs the pros and cons.

Curious to see more? Explore the top books and articles read by grade, data-driven insights and analyses on student reading practice, and author commentary from Tedd Arnold, Melba Pattillo Beals, and Laura Numeroff in this year’s What Kids Are Reading report.

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Charlene Cherota says:

    My students love non-fiction and are always excited when we talk about it in the media center!

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Awesome! It’s great to hear that your students love nonfiction and enjoy talking about what they’ve read!

  2. Dvawn Hurd (Maza) says:

    I haven’t read any of the non-fiction articles that was mentioned in the post. There are several I would like to locate for my students (but I can’t get the challenge to show me the list again). Again, during our DEAR time, I try to focus on LYRC books and the non-fiction ones are usually my first choice. Sometimes my students are pulled from the science and social studies time, so I really like to be able to find books/articles that are related to what the teacher is teaching in that subject area and use them as practice reading material. A few of the LYRC books I have read to my students are: Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, Henry and the Cannon, Hey, Charleston, and Hoop Genious.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Thank you for commenting, Dvawn! Helping students find nonfiction books and articles that relate to what they’re learning in different classes is a great idea.

  3. Christina says:

    Love this!! Our favorite article in class is always the boy who makes money off of whale poop!

  4. Rita Platt says:

    Seeing what’s popular is really helpful to get a “read” on kids’ interests. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fatima says:

    Our school library has just expanded our nonfiction section and we can’t keep the nonfiction books on the shelves. The kids love nonfiction!!!!

  6. Laura Quiroz says:

    My student love to read non-fiction it is often a very popular section in my library. I see that students are drawn towards real fact even is some can be seen as gross such as eating insects to be good.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Hi, Laura! I’m so happy to read that your students are interested in learning facts about the world around them! That’s great!

  7. Amy Marquez says:

    Those are some interesting articles I can see why kids want to know more.

  8. Jennifer says:

    The articles do seem interesting and a few worthwhile. I do believe, though, that there is better high interest material available like the “You Wouldn’t Wanna…” series. This list might be good for reluctant readers.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Thank you for commenting, Jennifer! The “You Wouldn’t Want To…” series are great books and another great example of excellent nonfiction content written for students.

  9. Julie says:

    My student’s have read any of the articles here, but I do try to have lots of non-fiction books for my students to read. Over the last couple of years, I have found my students really like the Who Was ..? series. I like books by Seymour Simon because of the amazing photographs he uses.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Great choices, Julie! I know I really enjoyed reading the “Who Was…?” series when I was a child.

  10. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    Nonfiction has been an ongoing challenge at my school. While the kids read many thousands of fiction text the nonfiction and informational text areas have been lacking. I will post these articles to my class website in the hopes of using them as an introduction to the world of nonfiction.

  11. Perla De Leon says:

    These sparked my interest…and my daughter’s. We were trying to read past the list. Wish it had a link to each article. Did I miss it?

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet says:

      Hi, Perla! Thank you for reading! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to include links. However, each article is available in Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360, along with a ton of other nonfiction content. Check it out if you get the chance!

  12. Christina Nording says:

    These are pretty engaging articles that will engage students! These articles allows students to problem solve real world ideas too!

  13. Lucinda Westwood says:

    Are there links to these articles anywhere?

  14. Ashley says:

    Were these articles published? They do seem very interesting!

  15. Dvawn Maza says:

    Cool info!

  16. Jody Steinhaus says:

    Thank you for this list. My 1st and 2nd grade students have developed a love for non fiction.–especially if the subject matter is animals or insects. It generates rich, lively, and interesting discussion.

  17. Virginia Wiedenfeld says:

    These are fun! I can I access the articles later on in the school year?

  18. sarina bellomo says:

    Non-fiction challenges have been implemented at our school. Boxes of leveled and curriculum appropriate non fiction books are in the classrooms and students have access to them throughout the day. When they have extra time they can read and quiz on non-fiction. K-2 need to read at least 25 books and 3-5 need to read at least 50 books with 90% comprehension to earn a badge and certificate. We try to make it fun and a great learning experience all at the same time.