fbpx Top

Fun Ideas for Teaching Nonfiction Text Features, Texts, Structures & Main Idea for Reading Comprehension

 
How to teach informational text, nonfiction skills, text features, text structures, in the 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th, grade, 8th grade, and middle school classrooms. Ideas to help students improve their reading comprehension in nonfiction texts, finding the main idea, authors purpose, or using vocabulary terms. Using nonfiction picture books to teach text structures. Graphic organizers for teaching nonfiction. 
Before we dive into my philosophy in regards to teaching Nonfiction or Informational text skills, I wanted to make sure you knew about TWO, awesome FREEBIES I have that I think you will LOVE. 

Click Here for my Text Feature Freebie 

  Start any conversation about teaching nonfiction or informational texts and you can almost guarantee groans will follow. Often the groans will be coming from both the teacher and the students….  I’m not sure what it is but I actually LOVE teaching nonfiction text in the classroom. My hope is by the end of this blog post, you will too.  Before this can happen we need a shift in our mindset.  I’m willing to bet, that if we were to do a word association activity where I say a word and you say the first word that pops in your head, (example: I say Peanut Butter, you say Jelly…etc.)  That if the word were: NONFICTION Your response would likely be…    If this were the case… You would technically be right! More often that not, nonfiction or informational text in the classroom IS boring. **Cue the dry curriculum text books, or leveled reading passages…etc.  BUT. To say ALL nonfiction is boring simply isn’t correct. Consider all the versions of informational text you engage with daily…
  • Facebook Ads
  • Instagram posts
  • Articles about the latest Celebrity Gossip
  • Emails
  • Product descriptions or reviews while shopping online
  • Documentaries on Netflix
  • Headlines on the magazines at the grocery store
  • Comparing and contrasting nutritional labels
  • Reading a Recipe
  • ESPN Sports Center
  • Your creepy True Crime Podcast 😜
  • THIS blog post
  • …etc! 
We are SURROUNDED by information.  Understanding and comprehending informational is a life skill.  As humans we LOVE new information, IF that information is something we are invested in.  So how do we engage our students and make teaching nonfiction skills less groan-worthy… For me, the answer is REALLY simple.  The skill, must be paired with engaging information worth investing their time in.  Now before you throw out the baby with the bathtub. I want you to consider the books that are most loved in the library, or if you are a first year teacher think of the books you loved as a child.  I don’t know about you, but the books that were most loved in my classroom were the books filled with incredible information, not just great stories and plots.  As a kid, my FAVORITE book to look through was a kid version of an encyclopedia. 

For you younger, hip teachers, (I love you please don’t think I’m old 😅 haha)  An encyclopedia was like google as a book, better yet wikipedia in text form…. 🤣

I’ve aged myself…  When you think of nonfiction think of THESE books, many you and your students likely already have access to! 
  • Guinness Book of World Records
  • National Geographic’s: Cutest Animals on the Planet
  • Who Would Win Books
  • National Geographic’s: Awesome facts about Everything
  • National Geographic’s: Weird but True Facts
  • Try This Science Experiments
  • Don’t Read this Before Dinner: Gross Facts
  • The Most Deadly Animals
  • Sports Illustrated: Greatest Athletes of All Time
  • Brochures to Favorite Destinations
  • Websites to theme parks…
This list goes on and on and on…. 

PLEASE comment below with your favorite nonfiction text ideas and sources below! 

At this point, I hope you are EXCITED about teaching and exploring nonfiction and informational texts in the classroom. If you haven’t caught the vision yet, let me show you what this looks like in my classroom. 

My classroom is set up on Literature circles and Guided Reading group rotations. As a teacher we all do something well, this was my thing.

Besides the list of books mentioned above, I will list a few of my favorite resources below for finding relevant, leveled, and engaging informational and nonfiction passages that students actually want to read:

 While on vacation, students are encouraged to collect travel brochures to share with the classroom.

TEACHER TIP:

Another fun way I incorporate nonfiction texts in the classroom in a fun way is by collecting travel brochures. Any time I travel or a student travels, we collect our favorite brochures. We display those brochures on a magazine rack. Students LOVE to look through these during free read time. They especially love to share their adventures with the class when they return! This makes things more familiar and exciting when students pick the Create a Brochure activity on their Nonfiction Choice Boards. My entire product line for teaching nonfiction skills have been built around the idea of pairing it with any form of nonfiction text. Allowing you, OR the student to choose engaging articles, videos, websites…etc that students will WANT to read.    Before we jump in… ALL of these activities can be purchased as a bundle. If you’ve been here long, you know that along with high-quality freebies… We will get to those 😘 I also love to offer high-discount BUNDLES. So high TPT actually warns me about my discounts. 😅 If you want to try them all, I want you to be able to justify trying them all! There are few things that make me as happy as seeing my products in your classroom!    

Click Here to Shop

   

Best Seller: ✨Informational Text Breakdown✨

This is one of the first activities I ever uploaded to TPT, and it quickly grew to, and continues to be one of my best-sellers. I wanted a single page that included important activities that students could complete every time they read a nonfiction text.

Don’t Forget to Snag My FREE Text Feature Sort, and Anchor Charts HERE

Teachers love to use this page WEEKLY, with fun classroom magazines like Time for Kids, Scholastic in their centers, or in their emergency sub-plan binders. The graphic organizer ensures great, meaningful practice, and an increase in student’s nonfiction reading comprehension. This activity is EASY to differentiate based on what you pair it with, because of this teachers have used this successfully in grades as low as 4th, all the way up to 12th grade!  These Informational Text Summary Activities are ALL on a single page: Pre-Read Section:
  • Prediction
  • Activate Schema
  • Ask a Question
Reading Response Section:
  • Main Idea
  • Supporting details | evidence
  • Author’s Purpose | text evidence
  • Reflection
  • Connection to text
  • Questions I still have
  • Vocabulary
✅  Text Feature Scavenger Hunt Section Author Information | Boldface Words | Bullet Points | Picture Captions | Graph Chart Diagram | Contact Information | Drawing Fact | Opinion | Italicized Words | Glossary Heading | Index | List | Map | Subheading | Subtitle | Photographs | Questions | Answers | Table of Contents | Title | Timeline | Pronunciation Guide

I’ve also included a fun ROLL A DICE Response sheet that students have LOVED. Click on the preview to learn more 💛

Click Here to Learn More

   

 ✨Text Structure Breakdown✨

*Text is editable. Complete digitally or as a printable, works great in interactive notebooks. Anchor chart, activity, graphic organizer, video, links to free passages, and picture book recommendations are included for every text structure.

This was created around the same idea of the nonfiction breakdown above. Meaning you can assign it to any nonfiction text, and students will be guided through the graphic organizer to determine which text structure is being used. Before students get to that point though I’ve created editable anchor charts, activities, to guide them through as well as links to FREE passages using the different text structures, videos, and links to my favorite picture books that model the text structure.  If the thought of picture books in the upper grades seems strange, shift your mindset again.  I LOVE using picture books to model specific skills, in this case text structures.  It allows you to briefly cover a broad topic, in a very non-threatening, and engaging way. 

✅ Click Here to Shop my Text Structure Picture Book Recommendations

  With each text structure I introduce them using the to, with, by model.  Model the structure to my students using the anchor chart & a picture book, I think aloud as I complete the activity.  Next, I do a similar activity with my students using one of the linked passages to the text structure. This time we complete it together (with) filling in the blank anchor chart as we go.  Finally, I assign students to complete the activity (by) themselves, or with a parter using another passage that I’ve linked. 

*Text is Editable: Students pair any nonfiction text with the graphic organizer to determine which text structure is being used.

  By the time we have worked through each text structure using the pattern above, students are excited and ready to try the actual text structure breakdown! ***Again, the Text Structure Breakdown allows you to pair it with ANY nonfiction text, (your choice, or students) Students work through the graphic organizer to determine which text structure they think is being used, the author’s purpose, and they must back up their thinking with evidence though the text. 

    🍋 FREE TEXT STRUCTURE SORT 🍋

  Click Here for the FREE Text Structure Sort

I also wanted to create a fun and FREE Text Structure sort! This text structure sort can be assigned digitally, or print it out and complete it like a puzzle! I recommend using the sort as a pre & post assessment at the start and end of your text structure unit. 

Click on the button above for the Text Structure Sort, *Different from the Text Feature Sort, to be sent straight to your email! 

 

Click Here to Learn More

 

 ✨Nonfiction Text Choice Board✨

Finally, we have the Nonfiction Text Choice Board activities that again, can be used with ANY nonfiction text.  One of my favorite ways to ensure and increase student engagement in the classroom is through student choice.  By allowing students to choose, they are given a voice in their learning, thus bringing more accountability. I love the choice boards because students can pick the activity AND the article, or you can assign the article, but they get to decide how they want to respond to it.  Each activity can be completed digitally or as a printable and will help students’ reading comprehension as they complete each activity!  This Informational Text Choice board includes the following nonfiction activities: (Digital & Print) **Activities work independently as a standalone from the Choice Board
  • Fact vs. Opinion Sort | Foldable
  • Create a nonfiction Crossword Puzzle: Design a puzzle based on text
  • Nonfiction Book Report Brochure | Design includes Text Features
  • Design a Symbol or Infographic based on reading
  • Create a new Text Feature using information from text
  • Research a question you have after reading and respond
  • Web Designer: Create a Frequently Asked Question page based on the reading
  • Make an Arrangement: Sort and Organize Information from Reading
 

Click Here to Learn More

  Phew! We made it.  I hope at this point you are feeling more energized and excited about teaching nonfiction text in a fun and engaging way!  I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below. Do you have a favorite resource for finding informational texts? Can you think of another form of informational/nonfiction text that we engage with daily that I didn’t list? Do you use my resources in your classroom? I would LOVE any of your tips or tricks for how you implement them.

Do you have any questions? Comment below, I LOVE to hear from you 😀 

Thanks again friends, until next time 💛

 

Like this? Make Sure to Check Out These! 🍋Freebies Included🍋

Click on the image to learn more

       

 

Free Informational Text Survey COMING SOON: Comment below if you would like the link! 

  • What I Want to learn about, why I want to learn about this
  • What I want to learn how to do, Why
  • Places Id Like to learn about, why
  • Processes I’d like to learn about, why

To stay up-to-date on new blog posts, freebies, exclusive promo codes, and sales… Join the Teaching on Lemon Lane Community! Pick any or all of the following to stay in the loop of all things Teaching on Lemon Lane. 

If you enjoyed this PLEASE SHARE! Sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, or tagging on Instagram is a simple, yet wonderful way to support the efforts of Teaching on Lemon Lane!

 

PSA:
April Fools’ Day is TOMORROW
I know many of you are coming off Spring Break, to lighten the load and add a little laughter to the classroom I quickly put together a fun and FREE activity/ joke to play on your class 💛 This impossible word search is in disguise as a #nationalpoetrymonth activity. Students will try and find words like stanza, verse, and rhyme... but won’t come up with a dime! 😉 They may however come up with words like tomfoolery, bogus, shenanigan, joke, buffoonery...etc 😂😂😂 Hope you and your class enjoy it, and this brightens your day! Tag me if you decide to use it, tags completely make my day! Comment below and I’ll DM you the link💛
...

Are you using my FREE Pi Day Activity like• @sunnyinclass

This fun FREEBIE works with ANY circular treat and is such a fun activity for students to explore and calculate Pi on Pi Day!

Comment below if you want me to DM you the opt in link 💛
Thank so much for the tag @sunnyinclass 💛 I can’t wait to hear what your 5th graders think! #l

#piday #pidayactivities #pidayatschool #pidayintheclassroom #mathteacher #math #mathactivities #mathactivity #mathactivitiesforkids #5thgrademath #5thgrade #5thgradecollaborate #ediblemath #edibleactivities #foodintheclassroom #havefunteaching #havefunlearning
...

Guys.... I’m not usually one to toot my own horn.... but 🎺 🎺. You HAVE to try this in your classroom. I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. When plastic bags came to mind I couldn’t find anything that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory it should work.... IT. DOES. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious. This is SURE to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! 💛 be sure to tag me, I can’t wait to hear all about it!.

Link can be found in my story, or comment below for the link! Link includes the email opt-in for my March Freebie Bundle, that includes TWO no-prep Pi Day activities.
.
Comment below if you plan to try this activity with your class tomorrow or comment if you’d like me to DM you the link to the Pi Day FREEBIE opt in 👊
...

When an idea for an activity turns out EVEN better than you imagined?!
.
Add a little spice to your Stuck in a Snow Glove activity! Your Upper-Grade students will LOVE this activity!
.
If you already own this product head to your TPT account and re-download to access ALL the updates I made to this pretty little thing. Just when I thought I couldn’t love this one any more…
.
❄️In short it’s MAGICAL❄️
Head to my story or link in bio for more info…
.
How many days do you have left until winter break? Comment ⬇️
...

I love the idea that the best way we can remember September 11 and #neverforget is to remember the love, and unity that was felt September 12th, and to strive to live that way each day.
On September 12th we were one nation under God.
Indivisible.
Seeking justice for all.
Love this beautiful depiction by @paigepayne_creations see her thoughts on September 12th below.
.
.
.
“ And on September 12th, we all came together. We were one. My family was living in Scotland when 9/11 happened. It was everywhere, all over the news. In school the day after, we had a long moment of silence in remembrance of those who were lost. We continued to have an annual moment of silence every year after that. It was incredible that even thousands and thousands of miles apart, we were mourning with those that mourned. We were one. At that time, we all displayed what we are capable of. Even in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, humans are capable of immense love. Capable of setting aside differences and coming together as one. As we remember and pay tribute to the thousands of lives the were lost that day, let us also strive to be more like how we were on September 12, 2001. Full of love, understanding, and compassion for each other. “

This painting is inspired by a beautiful photo taken by @masseya ❤️

#911 #911memorial #9eleven #911remembrance #thetwintowers #neverforget #neverforgotten #unity #love
...

💡🚨PSA:🚨💡
ATTENTION ALL TEACHER FRIENDS
.
Tag your #teachertribe and every #firstyearteacher below for this important reminder:
.
As you set up your classroom for the new school year, and start divvying out materials… Do no forget to set aside 2-4 new student kits.
.
Just like @adifferentiatedclass (shown in picture) I made sets using Gallon ziplocks.
.
If you are in a developing community with new housing I recommend a minimum of 4 bags 🙀
.
What to include:
🍋Name-tag/Desk-plate
🍋If you adhere the plates to the desk, have a segment of what you use in the pack.
🍋Welcome Treat (same one you’ve given to each student at the open house/back to school...etc.
🍋Whatever else you’ve set aside for students that begin on the first day of school.
.
📣📣📣There will likely come a day when without warning you will be notified you have a new student, and the student will start THAT DAY. Save yourself and your poor new student the stress of frantically trying to get everything set up, by preparing NOW.
.
Veteran teachers what else do you include in your new student kits?? Share in the comments below⬇️⬇️⬇️
📸: @adifferentiatedclass
...

How satisfying/ beautiful 😻 is this #classroomorganization tip by @the_organized_classroom
.
Use paint swatches as a visual to help students sort supplies! Keep this is mind as you set up your classroom for the school year!
.
HELP ME BRAINSTORM:
What’s a brilliant #teacherhack you’ve tried or seen done with paint swatches??? Comment below 👇
.
.
.
I’ll leave mine in the comments!
...

Guys… I had a baby 🥰 Almost 10 months ago 😳 I STRUGGLE to consistently show up on this platform, but know how happy I am that you are here!
-
There are a lot of new faces around here so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other!
.
PLEASE comment below with what we have in common, or something we will never see eye to eye with 😜
.
A few things to know about me😬
.
🍋 My name is Tara, I’m the creator behind @teachingonlemonlane
.
🍋 Lemon was my maiden name and my love for all things lemon runs deep.
.
🍋 I’m a fresh lemonade connoisseur, and will not touch store bought/ from the tap.
.
🍋 My patronus is a wolf 🐺 #potterhead
.
🍋 A piece of my heart will always be in #5thgrade and New Orleans
.
🍋 I’m a novice flower gardener and LOVE to experiment with different blooms.
.
🍋 Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year this year and have 3 kiddos under 5 💀
.
🍋 Go Red Sox ⚾️
.
🍋#bucketlist item: New Zealand, Hobbiton, ride the #nevisswing 😳
.
🍋 Teaching item(s) I can’t live without…Binder clips😎 You should see what I can #macgyver with a couple clips… also, flair pens. #cliché 🤓
.
YOUR TURN: Tell me something about you in the comments!
...

To my dear teacher friends still in school, I've got a FREE Father’s Day project I think you will love! Those of you are home with kiddos of your own, consider this fun activity for your Father’s Day Celebration! This is a great #endofyearproject that doubles as a #fathersdaygift 💛🍋💛
This product is available in both a printable and digital version that’s completely editable through Google. If you have a student or child interested in Digital Design, this is a fun way to introduce and experiment with different design tools. Because there are so many different types of situations and circumstances when it comes to a father the words father or dad are never actually used. Which makes this the perfect card to give to any figure that has taken on that important role. Whomever that is, they should be celebrated!
...

Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
.
.
.
Make sure to check out the Lucky Because Bulletin Board BUNDLE get ALL this for only $3.99☘️☘️☘️☘️ The Clover craft is the PERFECT craft for tomorrow!
...

If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
.
My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
.
I just added this CELTIC KNOT inspired Lucky Clover Craft and it turned out so fun! Use either the DIGITAL version and insert pictures into the leaves that represent why you’re lucky, or pick from one of the 18 different top layer options to create a beautiful clover like the one shown above! If you do go this route make sure to check out the EDITABLE bulletin board kit to really put these beauties on display!
.
.
.
Do you love March? Why or why not? Drop a comment below 💛💛
...

Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
.
Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
.
Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!
...

Hi There! So Glad You're Here

Let's be Friends!

📚 Adding a Little Zest to your Teaching!
🍏Fresh Ideas for Upper-Grade Teachers
💕Detail Oriented Products
🍋 Everything’s Better with a Little Lemon