Text Features in Our Own Writing

We have been diving into nonfiction over the past few weeks with a unit on colonial America.  One of the key things we have been looking at are how various text structures contribute to the reader's overall understanding of the text.

Each time we read a nonfiction text, whether it be in the social studies book or out of a trade book or periodical, we stopped for a second to acknowledge the text features and make note of what they were helping us, as a reader, understand.

As a whole, the class decided that pictures with captions and headings were the most helpful in giving us information that we would make the text a bit clearer.  So, when the students were in the process of writing an informational article about one of the colonial regions, we decided to include those two text features.

First, the students researched one of the three colonial regions found in the early days of English settlement.  They used multiple sources and created several prewriting organizers to gather all of the information. 

After all of the drafting was done, the students added the two text features to their final drafts.  To put the picture on, I just cut an index card in half for each student and they used that little card to create the picture box. The picture they drew then had to represent an idea in the paragraph they wrote, as well as include a summarizing caption for that picture.  The heading needed to summarize the paragraph itself.

Adding these text features to the articles the kids wrote was an easy way to connect several of the units of study we have engaged in over the past few weeks.  What have you done to get your kids to connect text features, nonfiction, and writing?


  1. I love this idea. We are writing explorer reports right now in my class. I could easily incorporate your idea today. Thank you.

    Artistry of Education

  2. I agree with you Mary! I could adapt to Scholastic News! THANK YOU!

  3. So glad you ladies can use the idea! :)


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