“Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” By George Macaulay Trevelyan
The Common Core emphasizes the importance of nonfiction text. Understanding text features are an important part of helping readers determine what is important to the text.
Two of my favorite ‘Newspaper’ web tools, that also work on devices using a browser, are TweenTribune and Dogo News. Both sites have articles that are appropriate, student friendly topics and each article also comes with a ‘Critical Thinking Challenge’ question for students to ponder. When you use Dogo News, you can click on a current event and it will tell you what Common Core Standards the article addresses, what age level and what National Standard. Both of these sites are great to use for non-fiction texts and especially to teacher text features. Below are activities you can do with your students that allow them to also demonstrate 21st century skills and digital literacy.
5 Activities for the Classroom:
1. You can also use the Bounce App website. You paste a website address that you like into the “app” and it turns it into an interactive screenshot where students can jot ideas while reading non-fiction text! You can have the students identify the non-fiction text features. (Works on all devices using browser too)
2. Have students use their devices and do a photo text features scavenger hunt. The students can find an example of each text feature and take a picture of the feature, add the picture to Pic College or Skitch and label each feature.
3. Have students create non-fiction article that include all text features using Apps or websites such as Google Documents, Pages, Book Creator or any word-processing such as word.
4. Having students reading a non-fiction text on their level, using the sites above. Have the students analyze the text by blogging or writing with starter questions such as: What text features did the author use? Were they helpful, why or why not? Are there any other text features the author should have included to make better?
5. Have students create a presentation using an App or website of their choice and have them ‘teach’ their classmates or a younger grade about text features. For example, have 2nd graders teach the kindergartener as both grade levels have learning about text features in the Common Core standard.
I would love to hear how you teach nonfiction text features, please add them in the comment section.