Text Features Teacher Resources

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Model for young readers how charts, graphs, diagrams etc., can help them interpret information found in nonfiction text.  Chapter 1 of The Iroquois: The Six Nations Confederacy provides the opportunity for direct instruction and guided practice exercises. Learners identify text features that help them understand the central message, use context clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words, and practice their close reading skills. Although the introductory lesson of the second unit in a series of units focused on the Iroquois and the Six Nation Confederacy, the approach to interpreting informational text could be used with any nonfiction.
What kind of text features help children build a strong vocabulary? According to this lesson, headers, pictures, and the glossary will accomplish this task. The class uses text features such as headers to unpack new vocabulary words. They create vocabulary journals in which they will write what they think the definition of each new word is. The next day, the teacher will go through the journals to determine which words the children should focus on. While the lesson is very well written and includes three worksheets, it is lacking in scope. 
The ability to use text features effectively can translate to many texts and purposes. Show your class these tools while working with the biography Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart. Explore the different text features within the biography and use them to help answer comprehension questions. This lesson will make readers look back into the text to find information and improve understanding of the purpose of text features. Sign up for a free account to view the materials.
Students study the tools of reading nonfiction (i.e., text features). They use think-aloud strategies to prepare to read the selection and identify graphic aids and assess their importance. They read "Stopping a Toppling Tower" quietly to themselves.
Elementary schoolers examine the components of reading nonfiction. They use think-alouds to help them complete reading the selected sections. They also identify text features as they read.
Fifth graders utilize text features. In this text features lesson students read The Story of Jackie Robinson: Bravest Man in Baseball by Margaret Davidson. Students use clues from the table of contents, illustrations, and timeline to answer questions.
The final video in a ten-part series helps young writers add finesse into their informational essay with captions, charts, and maps. The video gives three steps for adding in text features once a draft is completed, and walks through the thought process behind how one might identify where graphics or other visuals could support understanding. While designed to go along with the preceding videos, it could stand alone as a lesson.
Increase non-fiction reading comprehension by completing a pre-reading organizer to identify the non-fiction text features and also making comparisons to features of fictional books. To prepare for reading a non-fiction selection, learners engage in think-aloud strategies and prediction. They then read the selection, paying attention to the text features and to the way pictures and other graphics inform the meaning.
Conduct a shared reading activity with a non-fiction animal book. Young researchers identify the various text features in informational texts, complete a graphic organizer to compare and contrast text feature purposes, and finally choose their own animal to research as a follow-up activity.
Fourth graders read a nonfiction story that is presented to them with graphic features, and presented to them with only the text.  For this text features lesson, 4th graders decide what the benefits of text organizers are and create their own text features for a section of a story. 
Students examine the text features of non-fiction. In this literacy lesson, students practice reading graphs and discover the authors intent for using them in primary and secondary sources.
What does a non-fiction text look like? Examine the text features of non-fiction. Middle and high schoolers read non-fiction passages provided by their instructor and analyze the texts for word choice, details, and organization.
How can you tell if the text you're reading is informational or narrative? Show your reading class this basic PowerPoint to illustrate the characteristics of an informational text. What makes this presentation especially effective is that it uses grade-level texts, charts, and graphics to help assess the viewers. 
Here is a cute idea that will give second graders a way to show what they know about text features commonly found in informational texts. First, they match the text feature cards to their definitions, then they make a text feature book. Each of the common text features is listed on a small half-sized page, then children find actual examples from real books, cut them out, and paste them in their own personal reference guides. Tip: Have each student bring in one informational textbook from home to use for the project.
How do the text features support the purpose of the text? Help your class study different text features by providing them with this resource. Using the graphic organizer, readers will scan a text, searching for text features. 
Investigate rocks and non-fiction reading strategies. The class observes and sorts rocks, and then identifies non-fiction text features in Remarkable Rocks. Given strips of paper labeled with headings from the table of contents, pupils read the book independently and place the labels over corresponding text. They take notes on one book section and share what they learned with the group.
Practice reading strategies using Elizabeti's Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. Readers utilize decoding and comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading the story. A detailed list of text features, high frequency words, possible related phonics skills, and comprehension questions are included.
Fourth graders read cards about the explorers: Coronado, Lewis, and Clark, Pike, and Long. In this influential expeditions lesson, 4th graders describe and observe explorers who came to Kansas. Students locate main reasons and details as they compare and contrasts the experiences of all four expeditions. Students then read a map and review text features to complete a worksheet. 
Students explore nonfiction text features. In this Menasha, Wisconsin geography and nonfiction comprehension lesson, students share phrases for the "K" and "W" portion of a KWL chart about Menasha. Students complete a KWL chart with a partner while researching a Menasha website. Students locate nonfiction text features within the website, note them on Post-it notes, and share their findings with the class.
Young scholars discuss Giant Pandas. In this reading comprehension lesson students read a nonfiction book about pandas. Young scholars read silently to themselves. Students both the information gained from the text as well as particular text features.

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