For the past few years, nonfiction text has taken center stage in our classrooms. It's no surprise, since the majority of what we read in our daily lives is nonfiction. It becomes important for us to give our students the tools they need to navigate through this complex text. Today I'm sharing some ideas and tools for teaching text features using one of my students' favorite nonfiction books.
My students are obsessed with the National Geographic Kids series. I purchase sets of six with my Scholastic Book Order points, and they are always the first choice during our independent reading time. Penguins have been a favorite of my students this time of year.
To teach nonfiction text features, I start off by introducing each text feature using my Scholastic Introduction to Nonfiction Text Features Write On/Wipe Off Flip Chart. (I purchased my flip chart with Scholastic points a few years ago, but it is available on Amazon.) This giant book is excellent for teaching each text feature, whole class or small group. We discuss the text features included, such as photographs, captions, maps, and side bar. Students share examples of text features they've seen in their books, we discuss how each text feature helps us to better understand what we are reading, and I clarify any confusion. These posters from Scholastic's website are a free download and helpful to teach nonfiction text features if you don't have the Scholastic Introduction to Nonfiction Text Features Flip Chart. I have also used these free text features posters on my wall to teach with and have students to refer to throughout the year. They make a great display, and my students actually refer to them!
After our text features discussion, I have students work in groups to find examples of text features using a copy of National Geographic Kids Penguins and the Nonfiction Text Features Investigation sheets. Students find examples of each text feature and write the page numbers where they found them. We come back together as a class and each group shares their findings. We discuss how not every nonfiction text has all of the text features we learned about. Students share how particular text features helped them to better understand what they read. We also discuss how we could take information we learned about in the book and create our own text features for the information.
This time of year I have my students choose a polar animal to research. Since there are only a few National Geographic Kids Readers for polar animals, I collect other nonfiction books about polar animals from our school and local libraries. My students have their own tablets, so they are able to research online to gather more information about their animals. After they complete their Research Booklets, I plan to have my students create their own nonfiction books with the information they learn about their animals. Students can also create posters and habitat dioramas for their animals. This will be a great culminating project for our nonfiction study!
You can click on the picture above to download a copy of Penguins Nonfiction Text Features Investigation. Inside you will find Penguins Text Features Investigation pages, a Penguins Research Booklet, and links to student-friendly research websites.
If you are looking for more opportunities for your students to research a variety of polar animals, you can see the complete Polar Animals Research Booklets Here. Included in this pack is a Text Features Investigation that can be used with any nonfiction text and sixteen different Polar Animal Research Booklets.