Focus Questions: How do text features help a reader better navigate and understand nonfiction text? How are text features used to support the meaning of nonfiction text?
Ask students, “What is nonfiction?” (writing that explains, instructs, or describes rather than entertains)
Distribute copies of Sorting Facts Worksheet (L-6-4-2_Sorting Facts Worksheet.doc). Have students work in small groups to cut apart the facts and sort them into categories. Then have students write a heading for each category.
Discuss how these headings and facts might be used to help a reader learn about a topic. Ask, “What is the topic for these facts?” (jaguar) Ask students to explain how the headings help support the main topic. Guide them to see how the heading conveys the meaning of the facts they have categorized.
Say, “Sometimes when you are looking for information, you use a reading strategy called ‘skimming and scanning.’ ”
Explain that scanning is used to try to quickly identify the ideas in a passage or to find key words to see if it is something that the reader would like to read a little more thoroughly. Explain that this strategy involves the following:
- moving your eyes quickly down the page, looking for specific words and phrases
- looking for words that are bold, italic, or in different fonts
Tell students that skimming is used to quickly identify the main ideas of the text. Point out that this technique is also done much faster than normal reading and involves taking in more information than while scanning. Explain that readers use skimming when they have lots of material to read and a limited amount of time. Readers use the following while skimming:
- the first sentence of paragraphs
- table of contents
Have students skim and scan a section in their science or social studies textbook that has bold and italic print and several other text features. Hand out the Skim and Scan Graphic Organizer (L-6-4-2_Skim and Scan Graphic Organizer.doc). Have students fill in the organizer while they are skimming and scanning.
Have partners discuss what they found. Give them the opportunity to adjust their answers. Help them see how the text features support the main idea of the text. Make anecdotal notes about students’ understanding of using text features to skim and scan.
- Have students use the Text Feature Graphic Organizer (L-6-4-2_Text Feature Graphic Organizer.doc) to organize, or “chunk,” information about a topic. Have them write the topic in the center and then on the lines around the topic write text features they would use. Discuss how each text feature would help support the topic.
- Have students use a textbook or other nonfiction book to complete the Text Feature Scavenger Hunt (L-6-4-2_Text Feature Scavenger Hunt.doc). Have them explain how each text feature supports the topic of the text.