How to Introduce Nonfiction Text Features {freebie}

Learning to read nonfiction text can be difficult because it is often written in a more academic tone. However, there are a variety of nonfiction text features that make reading and understanding the text so much easier. Teach your students how to use these important text features so that they can read and understand nonfiction texts with ease.

Nonfiction Text features for elementary students

Nonfiction text features are an important part of reading and understanding nonfiction text. However, young readers often don't know what to do with them. They tend to read the text written in paragraph style and ignore the rest. It's up to us to teach our students how to use these valuable tools when reading nonfiction.

What Are Text Features?

Text Features are special parts of a text that are designed to help the reader better understand what they are reading or provide additional information to the reader. Text features are a key part of nonfiction texts. Some of the main text features include photographs, captions, diagrams and headings. But there are many others too!

a list of nonfiction text features

Teaching About Text Features

One of the best ways to teach about nonfiction text features is to do so naturally as they appear in class textbooks and readings. Sure, we can do a unit or lesson on different text features, how to find them, and how they help us, but in this format the text features often lack context. However, by introducing text features one at a time as they arise in the classroom, students have an immediate connection and can see the value in real life.

Nonfiction Text Features Resource

I put together a resource for teaching non-fiction text features that allows me to teach one text feature at a time as we come across it in real life. This resource includes a poster for each text feature and a practice page. What's great about this is that students don't just learn about it and see it once, but we practice describing it, identifying it and finding it again.

graph example of text features

In this resource there are 18 different text features included, so your students will be introduced to a variety of nonfiction text features!  I weave learning about each text feature into our lessons where nonfiction texts are common - like science and social studies.

As I prepare for the week, I take note of any new text features that I want to point out to the class. I pull the poster and the coordinating practice page so I'm ready when the time is right.

As we are reading I like to question students about something related to the text feature we will be learning about. Questioning is a great way for me to see what the students are familiar with and what they are paying most attention to in the text.

fact boxes example of text features

The questioning leads to our discussion of the text feature. After pointing it out in the text, I like to pull out the poster to define it. Then we talk about why the text feature is important and how it can help us. To wrap it up, we complete the practice page for text feature. This gives students an opportunity to review the definition of the text feature and practice identifying it in another place. Finally, students put their new knowledge to practice as they are asked to create the text feature on their own within a given task.

illustrations example of text features

You can find this comprehensive nonfiction text feature resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Teaching Nonfiction Text Features to Elementary Students

A Nonfiction Text Feature Freebie

It's important to not only teach students about these text features, but to also get them finding them and using them when they read nonfiction texts.  I put together these practice pages for my students to use as reading response pages when reading nonfiction text.  You can grab your free copy for your students too!  There's an organization page to keep track of learning and a "Top Secret" text feature find. Enjoy!

Nonfiction text feature reading response sheets

Save this idea!

Not ready to use this yet?  Just pin this to one of your favorite classroom Pinterest boards and save this idea for later.  You'll be able to find it quickly when you are ready to use in your classroom!

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