Teaching students about nonfiction text features is one of the most important and challenging tasks facing educators and parents today. Reading informational texts is emphasized now more than ever and the ability to understand and use text features is essential for this type of reading.
With the Common Core Standards, students in first grade begin learning about text features including the table of contents, headings and glossaries. By the end of fourth grade students are expected to know, use, and explain the purpose of many different text features.
Here is a breakdown of what the standards have to say about text features:
RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
RI.1.6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
RI.2.7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contributes to and clarify a text.
RI.3.5 Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
As you can see they don’t break it down specifically but give some examples. There are more types of text features today then ever before now that we are living in a digital age. For the younger grades you have to start out with the basics and build on them for the upper elementary grades.
Basically the kids need to learn to:
1. Describe what a text feature is.
2. Locate and identify text features in a book, magazine or electronic device.
3. Describe the purpose of different text features.
4. Explain how various text features can help them as readers.
Like me you can make your own unit on text features. I made mine with these goals in mind along with fun visuals and activities that will keep them engaged.
There are hands-on activities for students. Each student will make their own nonfiction text features booklet using books and magazines.
Student Interest Inventory
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