Walk Through the Features of Informational Text
Picture walks are a common before-reading activity. Students use illustrations to help them predict what might happen before they actually read the story.
This same reader habit can be applied to informational texts and their visual elements--text features. Text features help the reader locate and learn information. Familiarize your students with different text features using the Text-Features music video and lyrics. These were created by Nadine Gilkison, Smekens Education's Digital Resource Designer.
Kelly Masters, second grade teacher at Pittsboro Primary School (Pittsboro, IN), guides her students through a Text-Feature Walk before they read informational text. She calls attention to the images and their captions. She dissects any tables or charts. She addresses the bold words/headings that divide the information into sections. The point of a Text-Feature Walk is to help students discover that they can learn about a topic before they start reading the actual text.
Kelly further challenges her young readers by tying the activity to a K-W-L chart.
- Each student logs the information they gathered from the Text-Feature Walk in the left column (What do they Know?).
- In the middle column, she asks them to write down questions they have about the topic before reading (What do they Want to know?).
- After reading the entire text, they jot in the right column the answers they found to their questions (What did they Learn?).
- NOTE: If students had unanswered questions, Kelly nudges them to consider where they think they could find more answers.