Strategies for Practicing Nonfiction Text Features - Lucky Little Learners

Strategies for Practicing Nonfiction Text Features

Blog Posts, Comprehension, ELA

Written by: Jess Dalrymple

After you’ve introduced several nonfiction text features to the class, what are some fun ways to have kids explore and practice? In this blog post, we’ve got several ideas for you!

Nonfiction Text Features Mentioned in This Post: 

  • Table of Contents
  • Index
  • Glossary
  • Bold Words
  • Sidebars
  • Caption
  • Heading
  • Photograph
  • Diagram with Labels

Text Feature Walk

To help students understand that text features can help us to better understand the content within a text, try a nonfiction text feature walk! This is similar to a picture walk with fiction text. Before reading, “walk” through the text features to make predictions and discuss what can be learned from the text. 

Steps for Taking a Walk Through Text Features

Text Feature Surgery

Use old Scholastic News or Time for Kids and search for, then cut out the text features! 

Scavenger hunts for text features are fun too!  Give students boxes of nonfiction books and they have to find the listed text features and write the page numbers. This activity is helpful for helping kids remember all the different types of text features.

Text Features Cover Up

Another fun thing to do is to use sticky notes to cover up the text features you find during a shared reading. 

Start by hunting for text features and covering them with sticky notes. Then, go back through the pages to talk about how each text feature helps us understand more about the topic. It’s also very effective to talk through whether any additional text features could be used on a page to further clarify the topic!

For example, if the text is about parts of an insect, kids usually say it would be nice to have a diagram showing where each part is. Or if the text is talking about a place, how about a map? When the discussion moves in this direction, it helps kids to think critically about why there are text features and what they do to help the reader.

Add Text Features to Independent Writing

Whenever your students write informational text, encourage them to add text features!

Use graphics like this one from the Lucky Little Toolkit as personal checklists to prompt kids to add nonfiction text features to their own writing.

Resources for Teaching Text Features

Check out this blog post for a detailed list of TONS of resources to make teaching nonfiction text features easy and fun. 

Learn about a solution for targeting comprehension while at the same time differentiating reading instruction for students at multiple reading levels: 2nd Grade Reading Comprehension Passages

Note: We have a set of passages specifically designed for teaching students about nonfiction text features


Nonfiction Text Features Passages

2nd Grade Reading Passages

Lucky Little Toolkit

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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