Text Features refer to parts of a text but don’t necessarily appear directly within the main body. Text features are commonly used in nonfiction texts like social studies or science-related content and help the reader to find specific information within the text easier.
The most common areas for nonfiction text features are the index, table of contents, captions under pictures or diagrams, glossary terms, labels or features of graphs and charts, and bolded words.
Each text feature has its purpose but the overall goal of all text features is to quickly gain access to information in nonfictional material.
Why Are Text Features Important?
Text features are important because they help students to find text information of a nonfiction text or nonfiction book easier.
Nonfiction text features make it possible for students to obtain information about a specific topic or subtopic without reading the entire text.
When students understand where each text feature is located within a non-fiction article, they read the material more efficiently.
There are numerous text features, so let’s discuss the six most important text features in turn.
The 6 Most Common Text Features
The title is a text feature that gives a quick idea of what the reader will learn. Titles and subtitles of a nonfiction text taught in the classroom are important elements that the students can use to understand new vocabulary words to understand the meaning of the text.
Titles can give examples that help aid in comprehension and retention. The student can see an example that allows them to think independently about the text and create arguments based on the title.
2. Table of Contents
A table of contents gives the reader a breakdown of the topics covered in the text and where to locate them. The chapter titles give an idea about what to expect to learn in each chapter.
3. Glossary or Index
A common text feature that a text often includes is a glossary or index. They are included to provide readers with enhanced comprehension by briefly defining keywords and general concepts within the text. They can help to understand the overall meaning of the materials.
You can often locate glossary terms located within the text as bold words.
This is an informational text box, aside from the main text. The sidebars are generally on the side of the page. Sidebars contain important information that, for whatever reason, didn’t fit well within the body of the nonfiction text.
5. Pictures and Captions
Pictures and captions help are important features to understand the text better. Many authors create captions to show an object or an idea from the text. Short headings are free of overly complicated language.
A map is another of the basic text features that are found in many different types of informational content. A map or chart can make picturing an event’s actual location or period of time easier for the readers.
Maps and their related content and heads are included to shed greater light on the material. They allow the reader to create a better picture in their mind of when and where something is happening.
Benefits of Using Text Features
Students learn to identify the purpose of the charts, order of chapters, print features, illustrations, and more.
When students understand the purpose of text features, they often internalize the meanings more deeply than they would without.
Text feature activities help teachers to discuss the meaning of a text and improve literacy.
Level and Confidence
Making sure that students have an understanding based on the key concepts may be what it takes to solve the problem of literacy. But not all students are on the same reading comprehension level and they are not all confident about their understanding of a text.
Including text features activities like a scavenger hunt help to explain text features in a fun way. Students can learn the purpose of diagrams, bold words, end of chapter problems, charts and graphs, the heading, illustrations, the menu, and more in a playful way.
Students need ways to quickly access information in a nonfiction text. Teachers can help by showing them how to use text features to navigate through nonfiction material.
Some traditional teaching methods don’t help make the next step in life any easier. S0, we should try our hardest to give children what they need to navigate the world around them.
Whether you are teaching a science course, a history lecture series, or a reading comprehension class, text features provide students easy access to the subject as a whole.