Features of Nonfiction Text

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1 Features of Nonfiction Text The following lesson plans serve as a guide for teaching the organizational structure and features of non-fiction text. Below you will find the features of text that Spokane Schools have determined should be taught for each grade level. It is helpful to teach these lessons before introducing All-about Books as described in Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writing. Kindergarten Features of Text - page numbers, title, author, illustrator, credits, labels, captions, maps, charts, icons. First Grade Features of Text - labels, captions, story maps, charts, cover information, title page, table of contents, glossary, diagrams, maps. Second Grade Features of Text - labels, captions, story maps, charts, cover information, title page, table of contents, glossary, diagrams, maps and map keys, chapter headings, pie charts/bar graphs, acknowledgments, blurbs, index. Third Grade Features of Text - labels, captions, story maps, charts, table of contents, glossary, diagrams, maps and map keys/scales, chapter headings, acknowledgments, blurbs, index, introductions, time tables, parentheses, reference, footnotes, checklists, subheadings, tables, asterisk, paragraph, graphs. Determining Importance The reader determines what is necessary to remember before, during, and after reading depending upon their purpose for reading. Anchor Chart of Tips for Reading Nonfiction By Stephanie Harvey Think of facts, questions and responses. Write these down as you read. Reading nonfiction takes time. You may have to reread to make sure you understand. Reread so you don t forget what you are reading. Reading fiction is like watching a movie. Nonfiction is more like a newscast or watching a slide show. Stop often and ask yourself if what you are reading makes sense. It s important to abbreviate when you take notes. Think before you write. Nonfiction reading is reading to learn something. 1

2 Mini Lesson 9 Determining Importance in Non-fiction Unit of Study: Teaching Point: Active Engagement: Teaching Approach: Materials: Determining Importance Readers use text structure and a variety of text features to help them distinguish important from unimportant information. How does a reader use text features to find information? Shared Read Non-fiction text Determining Importance Anchor Chart Connection: Review the understanding taught yesterday. State the point of today s lesson. Teach: Gather twelve copies of nonfiction text written about animals. Each text must contain a table of contents and an index. Ask the children to work with a partner to find out what the animal eats. They need to use the table of contents and the index to find the information. Use page 21 in the appendix. When they have finished, they read and respond. Reading and Responding (Independent Response with Fix-up Strategies, Summary, Making Connections, and Questioning): When your students finish their research they are to read, remind them to apply what they have learned about using fix-up strategies, summary, making connections, and asking questions to understand and remember what they are reading. Your expectation is that your students will be prepared to share what helped them understand and remember what they read. Teaching Share: Partners share the information they found in the text. They need to discuss how they used the table of contents and index to find out what the animal ate. Unit of Study: Teaching Point: Mini Lesson 10 Determining Importance in Non-fiction Active Engagement: Teaching Approach: Materials: Determining Importance Readers use text structure and a variety of text features to help them distinguish important from unimportant information. How does a reader use text features to find information? Shared Read Non-fiction text Determining Importance Anchor Chart Connection: Review the understanding taught yesterday. State the point of today s lesson. 2

3 Teach: Review the definition of headings and subheadings and how they are used to organize information in nonfiction text. Before the lesson, take a digital photo of yourself and each child in the classroom. Place your picture in the center of the paper found on page 22 in the Appendix. Write your name at the top of the paper and discuss how it is the heading for the information that will be shared. Write three subheadings; What I Like to Eat, Where I Live, and What I Like to Do at School. Write a paragraph providing information about each subheading. When you have finished with your demonstration, your students will complete the same set of activities for their photograph. Reading and Responding (Independent Response with Fix-up Strategies, Summary, Making Connections, and Questioning): When your students finish their photograph activity they are to read. Remind them to apply what they have learned about using fix-up strategies, summary, making connections, and asking questions to understand and remember what they are reading. Your expectation is that your students will be prepared to share what helped them understand and remember what they read. Teaching Share: Partners share the subheadings they wrote about their topic. Mini Lesson 11 Determining Importance in Non-fiction Unit of Study: Teaching Point: Active Engagement: Teaching Approach: Materials: Determining Importance Readers use text structure and a variety of text features to help them distinguish important from unimportant information. How does a reader use text features to find information? Shared Read Non-fiction text Determining Importance Anchor Chart Connection: Review the understanding taught yesterday. State the point of today s lesson. Teach: Review how information is presented with captions as you model writing one to accompany your digital photograph. When finished, the children will write a caption to accompany their digital photograph. Reading and Responding (Independent Response with Fix-up Strategies, Summary, Making Connections, and Questioning): 3

4 When your students finish writing their caption, they are to read. Remind them to apply what they have learned about using fix-up strategies, summary, making connections, and asking questions to understand and remember what they are reading. Your expectation is that your students will be prepared to share what helped them understand and remember what they read. Teaching Share: Invite a few students to share the captions they wrote to accompany their digital photograph. Unit of Study: Teaching Point: Mini Lesson 12 Determining Importance in Non-fiction Active Engagement: Teaching Approach: Materials: Determining Importance Readers use text structure and a variety of text features to help them distinguish important from unimportant information. How does a reader use text features to find information? Shared Read Non-fiction text Determining Importance Anchor Chart Connection: Review the understanding taught yesterday. State the point of today s lesson. Teach: Review how a diagram presents information. Model how to diagram the digital photograph of yourself. When finished watching your demonstration, the students will diagram their photograph. Reading and Responding (Independent Response with Fix-up Strategies, Summary, Making Connections, and Questioning): When your students finish, they are to read. Remind them to apply what they have learned about using fix-up strategies, summary, making connections, and asking questions to understand and remember what they are reading. Your expectation is that your students will be prepared to share what helped them understand and remember what they read. Teaching Share: The students will share their diagrams. 4

5 If additional lessons are needed the following resources will provide support: Is That a Fact? by Tony Stead I See What You Mean by Steve Moline Reading for Meaning by Debbie Miller Another suggestion is to teach children how to use the features of nonfiction text to communicate what they have learned from the Science Units. Use the booklets found at the end of this document as a template as you create a similar format for a science unit of your choice. You could use the blackline in the appendix (All About Butterflies) to have students create a nonfiction book using the text features that you have taught. 5

6 Appendix Lesson 9: Using the Table of Contents and Index to answer a question. Name: Date: Animal: Question: What does the animal eat? Answer: Where did you find your information? Table of Contents: Index: 6

7 Lesson 10, 11, and 12: Heading, Subheadings, Caption, and Diagram What I Like to Eat Where I Live Digital Photograph Here What I Like to Do at School 7

8 FQR Chart Facts-Question-Response Chart The strategy emphasis supports students to ask questions, determine importance in the text, and respond, voicing their own opinions and thoughts. Eventually the children will be able to use this response method independently to read for information in text they have chosen at their own reading level. The children record factual information, ask questions, and respond to merge their thinking with the content. When students have the opportunity to share and explain their own thinking about text, they learn and remember important information. Example: The Comeback of Humpbacks National Geographic for Kids (Sept 2000) Facts Question Response Leaping out of the water is called breaching Is all jumping called breaching? 30x more than in 1965 WOW! That is a lot. That was a good comeback. Humpbacks were almost gone until a law was created to protect humpbacks I don t like the hunters using only one part of the whale. Reminds me of the white men wasting the buffalo. 8

9 Reading with Meaning, pp Identify what the conventions of nonfiction text are and how they help us as readers. Debbie Miller suggests spending one day on each convention. The teacher should bring in examples of at least five places in nonfiction texts that support that convention. Then the children look for the convention and share them with a partner, small group, whole group. It is not enough to identify the convention and purpose, we must also identify how they help us as readers. Conventions Purpose How they help us as readers Labels Help the reader identify a picture or photograph and/or its parts. Photographs Help the reader understand exactly what something looks like. Captions Help the reader better understand a picture or photograph. Comparisons Help the reader understand the size of one thing by comparing it to the size of something familiar. Cutaways Help the reader understand something by looking at it from the inside. Maps Help the reader understand where things are in the world. Types of print Help the reader by signaling, Look at me! I m important! Close-Ups Help the reader see details in something small. Table of Contents Help the reader identify key topics in the book in the order they are presented. Index An alphabetical list of almost everything covered in the text, with page numbers. Glossary Helps the reader define words contained in the text. 9

10 Have the students look at nonfiction and fiction texts and determine what are the characteristics of both types of text. Make a Venn Diagram reflecting what they learned. FICTION BOTH NONFICTION Title Bold print Beginning middle end Index Setting Illustrations Characters Table of contents Problem They help you learn Events Photographs Resolution They are fun to read Captions Stories Words Headings Cutaways Themes Pictures Information Ideas Read from front to back Amazing facts Read in any order 10

11 Reading with Meaning Debbie Miller Pp Wonder Boxes Throughout the study of questioning and nonfiction, ask the children to place a wonder card or two in a basket. Two or three days a week, draw one out and search for the answer. Another option is to generate wonder questions and have the students choose one, then do research for the answer. Debbie Miller shows them how to think aloud about certain questions: What do I already know about the topic? What type of book or other source will help me best? Where will I find the information? How is the information organized in the source? How will I go about locating what I need? Wonder Question What I learned Source: After looking through the source of information ask yourself, What did I learn? How can I synthesize my learning for myself and others? 11

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