Lesson plan

Judge a Book by Its Pages

Understanding how titles, headings, and subheadings work together in nonfiction can help students with writing and with reading comprehension. Students will make observations about nonfiction texts and consider organization choices.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to order sentences into paragraphs and sort them under a title, headings, and subheadings.

(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an informational text to each student. Have them also take out a novel.
  • Instruct students to open both books to a random page of text and make some observations about the text layout. How are they similar? How are they different?
  • Share responses.
(10 minutes)
  • Point out that informational text has titles, headings, and subheadings, as well as pictures with captions and other nonfiction text features.
  • Explain that titles, headings, and subheadings are signals to the reader about what they will read about in that section of text, and that these also help writers organise information for the reader.
  • Tell students that titles introduce the topic broadly, and that headings and subheadings introduce smaller segments of text.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute Formatting Hunt: Features. Go over the information and instructions at the top.
  • Instruct students to complete the exercise, swapping texts with a classmate when finished.
  • Review students’ findings after about 15 minutes.
(30 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Your New Pet Dragon: Organizing Paragraphs. Go over the instructions together.
  • Distribute scissors and allow students to cut and reassemble the sentences until they are organized with headings and subheads that makes sense. There may be multiple “correct” answers.
  • Have students write all or part of the piece on a separate sheet of paper, pointing out that paragraphs should be idented and headings lined up with the margin. These formatting details help readers visually identify where a new idea is beginning.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students point to different text features in their informational text as you call them out.
  • Have students find a page of informational text that has examples of five different text features (for instance, Bold, Italics, Image, Caption, Title, Heading, Subheading, Colored font, Indents).
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: How does formatting “talk to you” as a reader? What does it communicate to you? How does it help you?

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