EL Support Lesson

Create a Nonfiction Big Book

Share the pen in this lesson on text features as you work together as a class to create a nonfiction big book. This lesson can be used alone or with the Studying Authors: Nonfiction Writing lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theStudying Authors: Nonfiction WritingLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theStudying Authors: Nonfiction WritingLesson plan.

Students will be able to write examples of nonfiction text features with grade-level words using visual and written supports.


Students will be able to identify and describe text features at a sentence level and write examples using content-specific vocabulary, sentence frames, and partner support.

(5 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Create a Nonfiction Big BookGlossary: Create a Nonfiction Big Book
  • Display the cover of a familiar nonfiction text.
  • Call on a volunteer to share the title and the author of the book.
  • Remind students that nonfiction books tell readers facts, or real information about a topic.
  • Page through the book and think aloud, noticing different text features that will help you understand the book. Notice the table of contents, bolded words, photographs, captions, headings, and glossary.
  • Tell students that today they are going to become nonfiction authors and work together to write a nonfiction book.
(10 minutes)
  • Gather students on the rug and say, "Today we are going to be thinking about things that nonfiction authors include to help readers understand the book."
  • Return to the nonfiction text. Display the visual vocabulary cards and provide student-friendly definitions for each new word as you point to the text features in the book. Have students repeat the vocabulary.
  • Discuss the function of each text feature and how it helps the reader understand the book.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that the first step authors take when writing a nonfiction book is to decide on a topic for the book, or what the book will be about. As a class, choose a topic. Be sure to choose a topic that the class has already studied so that students will possess some background knowledge. For example, if the class has studied plants in science class, guide the class to choose plants as a topic.
  • Explain that the next step is for authors to choose a Title. Work together as a class to choose a title. Display the following sentence frame and have students share a suggestion for the title:
    • "I think the title should be ____."
  • Provide the following sentence frames to teach students to make connections with one another's ideas:
    • "I agree that the title should be ____", or
    • "I disagree, I think the title should be ____."
  • Attach a large piece of construction paper to an easel. Explain that this will be the cover of the book. Choose a student to come up and sound out the title together as the student writes the title in large letters on the cover. The rest of the class can practise writing the title as well with their finger on the rug or their hand.
  • Ask students what other information can be found on the cover of a book.
  • Choose a student to come up and write "By Room ____" to show the AuthorOn the cover of the book.
  • As a class, brainstorm what is known about the topic. As students volunteer information, write different HeadingsFor the nonfiction book at the top of several different pages .
(10 minutes)
  • Divide students into small groups, and distribute a page with a different heading to each group.
  • Have students draw a picture that would be found on the same page as the heading.
  • As an option, have students write a caption describing the picture. Focus on the use of content-specific vocabulary rather than correcting grammar during this portion of the activity.
  • Students can share the picture with others in the group. Provide the following sentence frame:
    • Our heading is ____, and my picture is a ____.
  • After students finish the drawing, staple the different groups' pages together to assemble the big book.
  • Read the book with the class.


  • Have students work in a teacher-led small group.
  • Show students examples of different pictures that would go with a heading.
  • Have students use their home language to describe their drawings.


  • Have students write captions to describe their pictures.
  • Have students compare and contrast their pictures with other students.
  • Have students write text that would be found on a page under a heading.
(2 minutes)
  • Have students answer the following question using the provided sentence stem:
    • What was one thing we included in the big book to help readers understand our topic?
      • "We used ____So that ____."
  • Check that the students' drawings match the topic identified in the heading.
(3 minutes)
  • Call on pairs to volunteer to share the drawings they included in the book. Provide the following sentence frame:
    • Our heading was ____, so I drew a picture of a ____.
  • Allow students to practise with partners before sharing in front of the class.

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