Lesson plan

Battle of the Texts: Print vs. Electronics

Are you a page turner or a mouse clicker? In this lesson, students compare and contrast text features in two types of nonfictions texts: print and electronic.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to compare and contrast the text features in nonfiction printed texts and nonfiction electronic texts.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today we will be talking about different types of text features, which are parts of a book or an article that are not the main body of the text. These features give us more information to help us understand what we are reading.
  • Inform students that today we will be focusing on the text features of nonfiction texts in two different forms: print and electronic.
  • Explain that printed texts are physical texts where the text, images, etc are printed on paper such as newspapers and textbook,.whereas electronic texts are read in digital form such as online blogs and articles found on websites.
  • Ask students to share examples of printed and electronic texts.
(10 minutes)
  • Perform a text feature walk through a nonfiction printed text using a mentor text from your classroom library. Turn through the pages of the text, stopping to point out different text features, making predictions about the uses of these features, and activating students’ prior knowledge about these features. Examples might include: title, title page, table of contents, index, glossary, heading, photograph, illustration, caption, label, graph, and table.
  • Write “Printed Text” and “Electronic Text” at the top of chart paper. Ask students to create list of nonfiction printed text features they observed during their text feature walk.
  • Tell students that nonfiction electronic texts, such as an online article, may have some similar text features to nonfiction printed text, but there are certain features of electronic texts that are unique.
(10 minutes)
  • Using a tablet, laptop, or computer, open a website featuring a nonfiction article.
  • Ask students to look at the website and identify any text features that they also found in nonfiction printed texts.
  • Ask students to identify any text features they are unique to nonfiction electronic texts.
  • Support students in identifying different text features of electronic texts such as web addresses (what you type in in order to locate a website), icons (a symbol or graphic representation on the screen) such as a loudspeaker icon to have text read to you or a Facebook icon to share an article you have read with friends, and hyperlinks (a link to another location accessed by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen). Other examples might include: menu bar, minimize/maximize buttons, refresh button, forward/back buttons, scroll bar, and navigation bar.
  • Write these ideas under the “Electronic Text” heading on the chart paper.
  • Go through multiple websites featuring nonfiction texts so that students are exposed to a variety different electronic text features.
  • Discuss what information in the two nonfiction texts is similar (e.g., both have a title and photographs) and what information in the two nonfiction texts is different (e.g., table of contents vs. hyperlinks).
(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that it is their turn to compare and contrast the text features of a nonfiction printed text with a nonfiction electronic text.
  • Distribute a nonfiction printed text to each student. These can include magazines, newspapers, textbooks, etc.
  • Project a nonfiction electronic text onto the board. This can include an online news article, blog, etc.
  • Distribute the worksheet Venn Diagram: Compare and Contrast Text Features of Nonfiction Printed Text and Nonfiction Electronic Text to each student.
  • Instruct students to fill in the worksheet using the information from their nonfiction printed text and the nonfiction electronic text projected onto the board. Remind students that the text features that are the same go in the overlapping section of the two circles and the information that is different goes in each corresponding circle.


  • Use texts that are at or below students’ reading level so that they can focus on the analysis of the text features.
  • Work with students one on one or in small groups to go through their texts and talk through their ideas before they get to work independently.


  • Draw students a three-ring Venn diagram and have them add a third text (e.g., a fiction text) to their analysis.
  • Ask students to write a response on the limitations and dangers of using nonfiction electronic texts to research a topic.
  • Exposure to electronic text features will give students the opportunity to focus on enhancing their skills and understanding of the digital world.
(10 minutes)
  • Select a new nonfiction printed text from your classroom library. Turn through the pages of the nonfiction printed text so that students are able to see the text features.
  • Project a new website featuring a nonfiction article.
  • Draw a Venn diagram on chart paper and label one circle as “Printed Text” and the second circle as “Electronic Text.”
  • Ask students to take turns coming up to the board to add words or phrases to the Venn diagram to compare and contrast the text features of these two texts.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to discuss the advantages of reading both nonfiction printed and nonfiction electronic texts when learning about a topic.
  • Ask them to consider some possible disadvantages of relying solely on either nonfiction printed texts or nonfiction electronic texts.

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