EL Support Lesson
Learning About Text Features
Students will be able to use text features to identify the main purpose of a text.
Students will be able to explain information and illustrations from a nonfiction book with grade level words and phrases using sentence frames and question stems.
- Project the Search for Nonfiction Text Features worksheet on the whiteboard.
- Ask a student volunteer to explain what nonfiction means. Clarify that nonfiction books or texts are about real topics.
- Explain that nonfiction text features are the parts of a nonfiction book that provide us with additional information to help us understand the main idea, or the point the author wants the reader to understand. Clarify that the main idea of the text or book is a sentence, while the topic is a word or phrase that explains what the book is about. Example topics might be bees, whales, or spiders.
- Read through the Search for Nonfiction Text Features worksheet, and explain that today students will be searching in nonfiction books at their reading level for some of the nonfiction text features listed on the worksheet. Circle the following words in the left column of the worksheet: photograph, bold print, labels, captions.
Building academic language
- Put students in four small groups and pass out one of the following vocabulary cards to each group: photograph, bold print, labels, and captions.
- Have students briefly review the text feature on their vocabulary card in their small group, and ask one student from each group to show the picture and read the definition aloud to the rest of the class.
- Choose a simple nonfiction book from the classroom library that contains the four text features on the vocabulary cards. Flip through the pages and show the students each text feature.
- Explain to students that they will now go on a nonfiction text feature scavenger hunt. Ask each group to select a nonfiction book at their reading level from the classroom library.
- Tell students that they will have a few minutes to search for the text feature on their vocabulary card in the book they selected together.
- Write the below sentence frames on the whiteboard. Read the sentence frames aloud, and model completing the sentences by referring to the nonfiction book you chose from the classroom library. Have group members share their findings with the rest of the class:
- I looked for ____ (text feature) in ____ (title).
- I found/didn't find ____ (text feature).
- Encourage students to show specific examples of their text features to the rest of the class.
- Ask students to take turns reading the rest of the nonfiction text together as a group.
- Rotate around the room and ask students questions about the main idea of the text, prompting them to refer to the text features in their book and encouraging them to express how the text features help them understand the main idea of the book.
- Write the following sentence frames on the board, and model finishing the sentence frames using the same nonfiction book you used throughout the lesson:
- I think the main idea of the text was ____.
- The ____ (text feature) helped me understand the main idea because ____.
- Encourage a few students to share their answers.
Additional EL adaptations
- Provide definitions of photograph, bold print, labels, and captions in student's home language (L1).
- Allow students to sit near the front of the room during the introduction.
- Provide students with a pre-selected, simplified text, with the main idea highlighted with sticky tape. Allow students to read the text aloud to a teacher.
- Allow students to respond to one of the question stems with a sympathetic non-EL partner.
- Allow students to brainstorm one of the text features aloud instead of recording on the board.
- Encourage students to record their answers to the sentence frames and question stems in their reading log or journal.
- Encourage students to summarize understanding after each page as they read the nonfiction book with their small group.
Formative Assessment of Academic Language(5 minutes)
- Provide the below question stems and model finishing the question stems using one of the four text features the students explored today. Use the text features from the nonfiction book you chose to help students understand your answers. If time permits, allow a student to model completing one of the question stems in front of the class.
- Why does the author include ____ (text feature)? What does it tell you?
- Why is there ____ (text feature)? What is the author showing you?
- How does the ____ (text feature) relate to the main idea of the text?
- Have students do a think-pair-share with a partner in their small group, finishing the question stems.
- Rotate around the room and listen to students' answers. Use their answers to gauge understanding of text features and the purpose of text features.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Ask students to put away their supplies.
- Draw a large circle on the board and write the words "Text Features" inside the circle.
- Ask students to close their eyes and brainstorm some of the text features they explored today.
- Allow students to come up to the board to record their answers.