Lesson plan

Text Features: Reading that Makes Sense

Improve your students' comprehension of non-fictional reading through this lesson that teaches them about text features. Students will find their own text features and explain why they aid in the reading process.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using Text Features for Comprehension pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using Text Features for Comprehension pre-lesson.

Students will be able to understand the purpose of text features and how they support readers' comprehension of a text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to students that text features are the elements of books, newspapers, and magazines that enhance a reader's experience by pointing out important information and making the text simpler to understand.
  • Explain the following nonfiction text features with the class: table of contents, index, glossary, titles, headings/subheadings, text (bold, color, italics), bullets, asterisks, pictures, illustrations, captions, side bars, diagrams, maps, tables, and time lines.
  • Display an example of each type of text feature and a definition of each. This can be on a digital presention or in an example book.
  • Emphasize the importance of each text feature and prompt students to discuss any prior experience they have with these text features.
(10 minutes)
  • Display and read aloud the Presidio of San Francisco worksheet. Identify the text features on the page by labeling them.
  • Explain how each text feature aids in the comprehension of the text. For example, the illustration is helpful because it shows what the presidio actually looks like. It helps the reader visualize.
  • Ask students to turn to a partner to discuss how the vocabulary box would increase readers' comprehension. Call on nonvolunteers to share thoughts.
  • Display the Text Features Book Pages, and explain that today's task will be to look through nonfiction text to find text features. Each page will include an illustration and an explanation of the text feature's purpose.
  • Model completing one page of the Text Features Book Pages by showing an example of a nonfiction text and picking out a text feature. Write the name of the text feature, explain its purpose, and draw a quick sketch of the feature on the page.
(15 minutes)
  • Share an example nonfiction book, and engage the class in identifying text features. Choose a text feature, and invite students to share input about the purpose the text feature serves and how it helps readers.
  • Divide learners into small groups. Distribute a copy of the Text Features Book Pages to each student. Pass out various forms of text to the groups.
  • Instruct the groups to look through the text and pick out a text feature. Have each student in the group complete one of their Text Features Book Pages for the group's chosen text feature.
  • Call on an individual from each group to share information about the text feature they chose.
(20 minutes)
  • Make sure each individual has a nonfiction text on which to focus. Instruct students to work on their Text Feature Book Pages based on the information in their book.
  • Circulate and provide support as needed.


  • For students that need extra help, allow them to use magazine cut outs to identify the text features and have them glue them to their book pages.


  • For students in need of a greater challenge, have students add other text features that they find that were not discussed in the lesson and have them add these to their book pages.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Jamestown worksheet. Have students read and identify three text features by labeling them.
  • If there is extra time, allow students to complete the Maze Fun activity.
(5 minutes)
  • Read aloud the text on the Jamestown text and call on non-volunteers to share text features they found. Have other students share the purpose of the text features their peers identified in the text.
  • Ask students to share if they found new text features not identified earlier in the lesson.
  • Accept any questions students have about the lesson, and remind learners that text features are meant to help us better understand the text and topic when we read nonfiction.

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