Friday, May 23, 2014

Informational Text Features

Second graders in the state of Minnesota need to be able to 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 (Minneosta Academic Standards, English Language Arts, Reading: Informational Texts, (2010).

In fact, all elementary students need to be able to analyze the structure of texts, so that they have a better chance of extracting meaning from the text they're reading.

During an inquiry investigation, one second grade teacher had students brainstorm all the different aspects of informational texts that set them apart from fictional texts. Students came up with the following text features:
  • table of contents
  • heading
  • bold print
  • photo captions
  • map/graph/chart
  • diagram
  • glossary
  • index

Then, students were given photocopied books (Reading A-Z) to look for those text features. Because they were photocopied, students were encouraged to cut the books apart and sort the text features by the categories they had previously determined. Below is the result of their work.

Afterward, students made their own books, including all the text features that they had studied.

After reading about how second graders constructed understanding of the different text features present in informational texts, how have you taught this important understanding to your students?

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