When I first started as a librarian, I tended to read only fiction books to my students. I never read nonfiction growing up and I do not remember any emphasis on reading nonfiction in my college classes. Luckily, this did not last too long and I soon learned just how much myself and my students enjoyed nonfiction and informational text. This is also about the time I noticed a large increase in narrative nonfiction as well.
I began explicitly teaching nonfiction text features to my classes. I had no problem coming up with lessons and activities to use with my 2nd – 5th graders, but I struggled with first grade. I only had 40 minutes with each class and since they came in at the end of the day their attention span was rather limited. So I came up with an idea that worked perfectly and wanted to share that idea with you.
Digital Interactive Books
My idea was to use ebooks to teach text features, so I purchased some digital interactive books from Lerner Publishing. The main reason I used the Lerner ebooks was because it was the company the other librarians in my district used. This was at least ten years ago so there are many more options to choose from now. Of course, money was an issue so I only purchased a few titles, but I have found them invaluable in introducing first graders to the different types of text features.
I chose books from Lightning Bolt Books, specifically Animal Close Ups, Our Four Seasons and What’s the Weather Like. I used these books to teach all of the different text features. And since it was an interactive book I projected it on the SmartBoard without using my document camera. Students could come up and point to each different text feature on the page and tell me how each feature helped us to read and understand the text. Each book also had a little quiz at the end with the students loved.
I also had several of the print books already in my collection. After I read the digital books a few times, I would pull all of these books and have students practice identifying text features with them. They were already familiar with the format so this was a natural transition.
Below are some screenshots of one of the books I used the most. And I want to let you know that I am not an affiliate for Lerner Books You can use any type of interactive eBooks to teach the same concepts. Lerner Books are just the ones I have access to.
In the resource library you can download a set of fiction and nonfiction posters. The nonfiction posters give a definition plus a list of some of the different text features. Click the button to enter the resource library. Remember, the resource library is password protected. If you are not a member yet, you can join for free. Just sign-up for my newsletter below.