Text features are essential when studying nonfiction or informational texts. In elementary schools, students need to know and use text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, etc.) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently. What text features activities do you like to do?
One of the most classic text feature activities is the scavenger hunt. Basically, you give each student a worksheet with directions and some names of text features. Then you tell them to skim through some nonfiction texts and find examples of each text feature.
Students loved this activity, but after doing this for a few years, I started to ask myself: Is this the only activity I can do when teaching text features? Besides, in this activity, students only practiced identifying text features, but how can I go beyond that to make sure their reading comprehension will improve?
Today’s post will answer these questions. First of all, here is a freebie of text features worksheets for you!
Text Features Differentiated Worksheets
These worksheets are my favorite as they differentiated and provide enough scaffolding for students, especially ELLs and Special Eds.
The 1st worksheet asks students to identify text features. Instead of having students skim through random nonfiction books in your classroom (it also takes the teacher a lot of time to pick out and prepare nonfiction books), this worksheet includes all important text features and asks students to label them all. Therefore, students can practice observing text features and identifying them. The word bank at the top can support students who need some help.
The 2nd worksheet (bottom left) is all about reading comprehension. As mentioned above, text features are there to help students locate key information in a text. Therefore, simply identifying the text features is not enough. What’s more important is that students can use them to enhance understanding.
Thus, this worksheet has 5 multiple-choice questions and 5 short-response questions. They are all text-dependent questions that can check if students can collect information from the text features and if they really understand the text or not.
The 3rd worksheet (top right) also asks students to identify text features on the 1st worksheet. But what’s more important is that students now need to explain what they’ve learned from each text feature. So this is a step forward.
To sum up, these worksheets are great for students to practice their learning of text features after your mini-lessons.
Text Features Flashcards
According to research, flashcards can promote active recall of knowledge in a student’s brain, which helps the student to memorize and eventually internalize the knowledge. Using flashcards is one of the most common and versatile learning methods. Besides, they appeal to visual learners and can be used to stimulate kinaesthetic learners too.
Therefore, I like to use flashcards (like the ones below) to help my students learn text features. As you can see, each flashcard has the name of a text feature, its definition, and a picture example. There are 4 flashcards on one letter-size page.
I also made posters (letter-size) of these flashcards to display in the literacy corner of my classroom.
Text Features Game Cards
This resource has 27 game cards and 40 question cards. It’s an engaging game to check and enhance students’ understanding of informational text features.
There are 27 text features as you can see in the picture below:
How to Prepare the Cards:
To be honest, it takes some prep but the good news is that you only need to do it ONCE!
After color-printing the cards, you need to fold the cards in half horizontally, and then glue the back together. After that, you need to laminate the cards and finally cut them out. To save laminating pouches, you can put two pages (after folding) together and then laminate.
How to Play the Game?
First, one player can distribute game cards to each player. Then, place the question cards in one pile in the center and draw a card. Next, one player can read the question on the question card, and all players can use the game cards in their hands to answer the question.
One way to quickly check the answer is to look at the suggested answer key on the question card (shown below)
Besides, I also prepared some empty game card templates, so students can have the opportunity to include extra text features or create their deck of game cards.
Text Features Task Cards
I love task cards! They are so flexible, versatile, differentiated, and engaging! These double-sided text features task cards can provide students extra practice after working on the worksheets. I also let my early finishers work on these cards after they finish their work.
My students loved them! They can simply record their answers on their reading or ELA notebooks, or use the recording sheets. There is also a tracking sheet to help students keep track of their work.
To Sum Up
In this post, I shared four text feature activities that can support your teaching of text features. Differentiated worksheets are always a good choice for students’ independent work, while the cards (flashcards, game cards, and task cards) can provide extra practice and engage students.
Reading Resources in this Post
If you like the ideas and want to save time, you can click the resource pictures below to purchase them in my store. You can also check out the previews and more descriptions there.