Formatting Nonfiction Text
Students will be able identify and describe text features in a nonfiction text.
- Have students discuss in partners or small groups how the organization of information in the following three kinds of texts differs: Narrative/story, Instructions, and Nonfiction.
- Give a hint to get them started, if necessary, by telling one of the three structures.
- Share out ideas as a class and discuss.
- Point out that narratives have a beginning, middle, and end; instructions follow a series of ordered steps (often numbered); and nonfiction is organized by topics divided into subtopics.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Draw an outline or web as you explain the following concept.
- Explain the structure of nonfiction text, telling students that the title is the overarching topic of the entire text.
- Explain that each heading (or chapter) is a section of information that covers a specific topic within that main topic.
- Tell them that each heading usually has subheadings.
- Explain that each section that follows a bigger idea supports or tells more about that big idea.
Guided practise(10 minutes)
- Distribute the worksheet Understanding Nonfiction Formatting.
- Go over the information at the top as a review of what you just explained, and then preview the instructions for the next activity.
- Fill out the title and the first section together, modeling examples as you go along.
- Instruct students to complete the activity using a nonfiction textbook. Distribute textbooks for students to reference.
- Ask students to describe, in groups, the text features they used to complete the Understanding Nonfiction Formatting worksheet.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Distribute the worksheet Formatting Frenzy.
- Preview the instructions as a class and go over each kind of feature. Provide examples from the internet or a textbook if necessary.
- Instruct students to complete the activity by going on a text formatting scavenger hunt.
- Do the entire first activity together as a class.
- Invite students to take a page from their textbook that is all (or mostly text) and determine what additional features would most improve the telling of the information on the page.
- Have students open to a new chapter in the nonfiction text that they used during the exercise.
- Name different formatting features and have students point to an example in their text.
- Survey the class for accuracy.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Invite students to share their observations from the scavenger hunt activity.
- Ask the following questions:
- Which text features were the easiest to find?
- Which were the most challenging?
- Can you describe your favorite text feature?