Lesson Plan

What's in a Text Feature?

Ever wondered how to explain what an index is to a 6 year old? Look no further! Use this engaging lesson to help your students become text feature experts.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Searching for Text Features pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Searching for Text Features pre-lesson.

Help young learners answer the question, “What’s in a text feature?” with this nonfiction reading and writing lesson plan. Designed to fit into the first grade curriculum, this lesson introduces readers to the many important features of nonfiction texts, such as diagrams, headings, and the table of contents. Children will explore and locate text features across various nonfiction books and practice connecting the words to the corresponding features in a helpful matching worksheet. When they are finished, learners will have a better understanding of how to locate and use the information in various nonfiction books.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify and use features of a nonfiction text to find information.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Text Features ChartFind the Text Feature
  • Ask students to gather on rug.
  • Show two books about the same topic (for example, a nonfiction book about plants and a fiction book about a child gardening). Ask students, "What is the difference between these books?" Answers might include that one is “pretend” or “fiction” and one is about something “real” or what we call “nonfiction.” Briefly review how you might tell the difference between the two types of books. Nonfiction includes facts, teaches us something, etc. While fiction is an imaginary story.
  • Show the book "Seed to Plant" by Laura Marsh (or similar nonfiction text) and demonstrate think-aloud strategies to locate information by saying, “I want to find out what a plant needs to grow. I’ll just look through this book to find out.”
  • Flip through the book, pretending to read parts of each page, acting slightly frustrated that you cannot locate the information about what a plant needs to grow.
  • Say, “Ah! I know, I’ll check the table of contents. Now, what words should I look for to find the information I am looking for?” Ask the students for ideas of words that might lead you to the correct page. Possible answers: dirt, plant needs, growing, etc.
  • Read the table of contents headings aloud and ask students to give a thumbs up if they hear something that might tell what a plant needs to grow.
  • Explain that, as readers, we can use text features in nonfiction book to find the information we are looking for. Understanding how to use text features such as the table of contents will help you to learn more from the nonfiction books you read. Tell them that in this lesson they will become detectives as they practice using text features to find out information from their books.


  • Activate prior knowledge by reminding students a nonfiction book provides true information, or facts, about a topic.
  • Show students an example of a nonfiction book with a table of contents in their home language (L1) if available.


  • Provide sentence stems to predict, such as:
    • I think this book is about ________.
    • I can use the table of contents to ________.