5 Engaging Ways to Teach Nonfiction Text Features

5 Engaging Ways to Teach Nonfiction Text Features

teaching nonfiction text features

I have 5 ENGAGING ways to teach NONFICTION TEXT FEATURES (yep, big and all-caps emphasis on engaging!).

Nonfiction text features are so important for students, but can often be tricky to teach and to get enough practice for.

Like all reading strategies, it can often be tough to think of new ideas to engage and motivate your students to learn, practice, and review the concept.

Teachers are BUSY, so I wanted to give you a few ideas for teaching nonfiction text features that you can easily implement in your own classroom.

Read about my five ideas below!

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What are nonfiction text features?

So – what are nonfiction text features?

Nonfiction text features refer to parts of a nonfiction text that help a reader interpret and understand the material they are reading.

Think bolded words, italics, a glossary, an index, table of contents, cover page… all that jazz!

Students usually pick up pretty quickly on the various vocabulary terms – but the tricky part is when they need to apply how to use each of these!

You can learn about other elementary reading strategies here.

teaching nonfiction text features

Idea #1: Use real-life materials to teach nonfiction text features

Real-life materials are SO IMPORTANT for this topic!

Besides guided reading books that you probably already have, pull out texts that kids will see and use in real life.

For example, cookbooks, textbooks, biographies, or some fun nonfiction books that are already sitting in your classroom library.

Heck, you could even bring in a manual from your refrigerator!

Making the connection that these are skills that kids will be using every single day when they are adults will help make the topic more engaging and interesting (and practice seeing nonfiction text features in various ways!)

Students can use sticky notes to label parts of the nonfiction text that they see!

nonfiction text features scavenger hunt

Idea #2: Nonfiction text features scavenger hunt

This is a FUN one that your students will enjoy (everything is more fun when the term “scavenger hunt” is involved 🙂 )

This is the perfect literacy center! 

Put out a stack of nonfiction books, Post-it notes, and a list of all the nonfiction text features that you want students to find.

Remind students that nonfiction text will not always have all the features.

Authors choose the features that will help their readers understand a text, but not all the features are always needed.

Students will keep flipping through various nonfiction texts until they are able to locate ALL the nonfiction text features on the list!

This makes a great reading center!

teaching nonfiction text features

Idea #3: Try out a color by number (paper or digital!)

We need our students to be able to practice nonfiction text features, so I created some activities for kids to practice and review this concept in the classroom.

These nonfiction text features color by numbers are THE BEST!

There is both a digital version and a paper version.

The digital version is referred to as “pixel art.”

Basically, as students correctly answer questions on nonfiction text features, a mystery picture appears!

For the paper version, students are directed to color a picture a certain color depending on their specific multiple choice answer.

Both of these are ENGAGING and MOTIVATINGI’m serious that your students will ask for more.

Click HERE for the Digital Pixel Art.

Click HERE for the paper color by numbers!

teaching nonfiction text features

Idea #4: Go digital to teach nonfiction text features!

I have a terrific Nonfiction Text Features for Google Classroom product that your students will ADORE!

Why is it a best-seller?

Because it is ENGAGING and the perfect technology center to use in your classroom.

Many teachers also use it in whole group as an interactive lesson!

It contains drag-&-drop and short answer questions that students will enjoy and be excited to complete the digital activities.

You’ll love that it’s no prep and super easy to assign 🙂

Check it out HERE!

teaching nonfiction text features

Idea #5: Create your own!

Now it’s time for students to apply what they learned!

This is a great independent activity for students – they create their own nonfiction text complete with lots of nonfiction text features!

How does this work?

First, each student gets a research topic (they can pick, or you can assign!).

It can be anything – penguins, roses, school buses – the world is their oyster!

You can also give students a broad category (like animals, types of flowers, etc. if you think they’ll have trouble narrowing down their topic).

Students will create a mini book!

They need to make sure to have ALL text features, like a glossary, table of contents, index, cover page, etc.

Then, they will trade books!

Students will use Post-it notes to label one another’s books with the various text features.

How stinking fun is that?!

teaching nonfiction text features

Need more resources for teaching nonfiction?

You can grab these resources at Glitter in Third on TPT!

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