Learning Center


Emphasize the 3 purposes of text features

march 22, 2022

Text features are visible elements inside and outside a text that enhance the reader’s experience. These are not required components of texts. They are perks that authors and publishers choose to include to help the reader find information quickly, navigate within the text easily, and comprehend the information completely.

Although the comprehension standards state that text features are to be introduced in grades K-3—all grade levels are to teach students how to apply them.

This is where the power of text features sometimes gets lost. Students need to learn more than the different types; they need to know the three valuable purposes behind text features.

Text Features - Magnifying Glass to help readers find something

1. Help FIND SOMETHING. As a text gets longer, an author realizes that the reader may need help finding specific information quickly. Consequently, he may include organizational text features.

Text Features - Light Bulb to help readers better understand something

2. BETTER UNDERSTAND SOMETHING that is stated within the main text. When the information stated in words, sentences, and paragraphs is dense or complex, a graphic representation can make it clearer.

Text Features - Star to highlight new information

Authors are experts on the topics they write about. And sometimes everything doesn’t fit or flow logically within the single main text. Consequently, authors may choose to provide additional information outside of the main text. Reading these text features extends the reader’s knowledge even further.

It’s not always clear to the reader what information in a text feature was new versus repeated until after he finishes reading. This is why it’s important for students to learn to use all text features provided. The reader doesn’t want to miss out on any information.

By emphasizing the author’s intent and reader’s purpose, students no longer see text features as merely decorations but begin to harness their power.

Text Features - The Purposeful Parts of Texts - Digital Resource

Purchase the digital download of Purposeful Parts, which includes visual graphics for each text feature.

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