In the battlefield that is teaching first graders to love reading, we have to dive into the trenches with nonfiction books. Nonfiction books are a very misunderstood group of books for first graders. Just because a book is full of facts and information, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to read. By reading nonfiction books with your students you can teach them all about something they’re interested in that exists in real life. Along with all the fun facts they can find within the body of a nonfiction work, the real fun is found within text features. Text features examples include captions, heading, photographs, tables, and graphs that give us quick access to fascinating information.
What is the importance of text features for kids?
I’m so glad you asked. By teaching text features to our students, they are learning how to find the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently. When our students understand how to use an index to find specific information and how to turn to the correct chapter and heading, they will learn that sometimes books are faster than google at finding facts. Text features help identify the true information our students can find within a nonfiction text. For more information on text features and more ways to improve reading comprehension in first grade, check out Reading Strategies for Comprehension: 15 Strategies You Must Teach Students to Master.
Three Fun & Engaging Activities to Teach Text Features in 1st Grade
As in every aspect of education, sometimes teaching text features can seem a bit dull. Since the Internet has become so much more accessible and nonfiction books seem a bit antiquated, sometimes it’s tough to keep our students interested in nonfiction books. These activities will help your students engage with nonfiction books through the text features and learn more important and exciting facts.
Roll a Text Feature
In this game, all you need is a few dice and a key written on the front board or a laminated card to follow along. The key can look something like this: (1) photograph (2) bold print (3) caption (4) heading (5) index (6) glossary. Your students can play in groups of 2 or 3. Each student takes a turn rolling the die and whichever number it ends up on, they have to find the text feature that corresponds to that number. For instance, if a student rolls a 3 on the die, they have to look for a caption within a nonfiction book.
Find a Text Feature Race
For this game, each student needs a nonfiction book and a list of features they are supposed to look for written on the board or on a piece of paper. You will need a timer and to monitor to make sure students are actually doing the task. Students will race through their books to write down the page numbers for text features they find within the book. Each student will need to find the page number corresponding to the table of contents, headings, bold words, photographs, captions, the index, and glossary. The student who finds all their features the fastest wins!
Text Features Kahoot
Design a free Kahoot game for your first grade students based on text features for kids. Using the multi-question format and true or false questions to identify different text features. Students will love the interactive component of seeing what their friends think and if they are right with their own answers.
Nonfiction text features have been around a long time. With the invention and availability of the Internet, they don’t seem as important as they once were. They are very important for our students to learn, though! Work with your students as they discover the fun and interesting information they can learn through text features.
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