I Need Answers – Questioning Using informational text features

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SWBAT ask and answer questions by using text features to locate information within informational text.

Big Idea

Find answers with informational text and show them on the iPad!


  • Set of biography books for the class (1 per student or 1 per group) I used ‘Rookie Readers’  but these other series would also be good. Here's a picture of the books I used. If you use different books, make sure they have a variety text features. Below are some examples of other series that I’ve used before.
    • ‘Scholastic News’  series
    • ‘Life Stories’ series
    • ‘People Who Made a Difference’ series
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall:informational text, text features, all the info text feature vocabulary
  • ‘How it helps’ worksheet
  • ‘Storykit’ App (FREE app)- try this app out before you start and be familiar with the orientation for pictures and how to add text, pictures and colors
  • Group Rules poster
  • 'Informational Text Feature' visuals - print these out and cut them apart
  • Ipads for student (one per student or one per group)
  • Set up the whiteboard by copying the worksheet organizer before the lesson


If you have Ipad Rules, such as ‘Ipads sit flat on a table when we’re typing’ or ‘we take turns using the Ipad," review those before you hand out the iPads. My class developed rules at the beginning of the year and we do review those each time we pull out the iPads.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing Word Wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.


Build interest & bring all the students to the same ‘place’ to start learning.

  • “Today we are going to talk about informational texts. I brought some biographies. Do you recognize any of the people on these covers? Why do I use a text like this?”  Take ideas.
  • Pick up a few biographies-give hints to make this a game for the kids to see if they can guess some of the book characters - 'this is the first president...'  'this was a man who talked about peace...."


This is the second lesson I’ve taught about informational text features. See Informational Text-How Does it Help? that gives the background for these text features.  If you have not taught these before, take a few moments to explain them.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Introduce the task

  • “Let’s look at some text features in these informational texts.”
  • Put the 'informational text feature' prompts on the board as you talk about them. There’s an example of how I set up the vocabulary on the whiteboard. I put up the words and the text feature cards next to it. 
  • “Text features help us answer questions. Today we’re going to write some questions that can be answered with text features in the book. I’m using an organizer on the board to help me get answers from informational text." 
  • “When I’m done, I’ll make a ‘story’ with an Ipad app.”


Later I’ll take the pictures away once they learn the word. If you can use a book familiar to the students-a social studies or science text - that’s best because they have background knowledge of the text.


Model the questioning

  • “First I’m going to read my book. Notice it has text features - we'll take a look at each one as we read."
  • It's important that you take the time to read it – the goal of the lesson is to improve reading comprehension, not look for text features in isolation.
  • “Now I’ll look back through my book and find 3 text features that give me more information than just the words. I’ll write the page numbers and the kind of text features they are on the organizer.”  Put up the ideas.
  • “Last I’ll think of questions I could ask and use the text feature to answer. I'll write those questions on the organizer.”


Using the app

  • “We are going to make our own informational ‘pages’ today using an app called ‘Story Kit’. Let’s take a look at how to do it.” .
    • “I’m going to look for 3 text features in my book and take a picture of each one. YOU MUST HOLD THE IPAD ‘THIS WAY’ SO THE PICTURES ARE NOT SIDEWAYS OR UPSIDE DOWN."
    • “Then I open up the app and choose a picture from the camera roll, move it and type the name of the text feature.“
    • “Then go onto the next page.“
    • “When I’m done, I can add colors.” 
  • Here's a demonstration of how to use the story kit app.
  • Follow up with the 'why' of the lesson..."My pages help me understand the story better – this page shows a (text feature) and it helps me …. (explain how each feature helps you in your page.).” 

The Common Core Standards encourage students to ask questions and answer with evidence from the text. (RI.2.1)  Informational text holds a significant amount of information within the text features, so students who can use these will improve their comprehension. Using these text features allows to locate key facts and answer questions confidently. (RI.2.5) Creating structured situations that allow students to solve problems independently and encouraging them to draw on their own abilities to facilitate learning rather than on relying on adults to supply information are ways that I approach teaching to the Common Core.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • “Now you will have a turn to create informational pages your texts."
  • “We’ll be working in groups so let’s review ideas about group work on the group rules poster.
  • The students have several pieces to complete a lesson. Take time to help them understand the steps they need to complete in the correct order.  “Listen to the directions carefully so you know what to do.
    • “Read your book as a group or pick a reader.” 
    • “Find 3 text features in your book that help you find information and write the page number, kind of feature and a question on your worksheet. Try to pick unique features – you can’t have only photos or pictures.”
    • “When you have your organizer filled out, raise your hand and I’ll check your answers before giving you an iPad.”
  • Here are 2 examples of work: student worksheet 1 and student worksheet 2


Let students work

  • Give students time to make their pages on the iPad. 
  • Walk around as students work. 
  • Before you hand out an Ipad, ask the group/students to tell you one way that the text features helped them find information. Have them verbalize this – its important that they can explain how text features help them. ‘The map showed me where he lived.’ or ‘This photo showed me that he had a big family.’
    Remind them to take the pictures with the right orientation.
  • “When you are finished with your pages, you can add some colors to the pages if you have time.” 
  • Here's what it looked like when one of my students was using the app.


Monitor the groups and ensure they are taking turns picking text features. Challenge them to find some interesting features, not just pictures that are different than the other groups' choices.

Apply What You Know!

15 minutes

When asking students to share and reflect, I prompt students to explain clearly and use examples when sharing their work. This may be difficult, but hearing the teacher and higher level students make comments like, "The caption told me that MLKing spoke in Washington DC" or "This map showed me where he was born and where he traveled" will provide good models for those who struggle more with expressive language.

Share and Reflect

  • I say: “I saw lots of cool pages with pictures of text features!"
  • I invite: “Come up and share with your group (or alone as applicable) one of your pages. Be ready to tell us the name of your text feature and show your page. Tell us one way that this text feature would help you find information.”
  • As groups come up, ask questions and encourage others to ask questions as well. "How did you know that map was helpful?" or "Why did you choose that text feature?"

Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Groups should be of mixed ability. Kids with high and low language levels can always learn from each other when working collaboratively. Make sure the special education students can copy answers on the organizer or get help from a friend.  When reading the book, groups will have a 'reader'. Attention to group roles (reader, timekeeper, etc) should be angled so the students skills sets are appropriately accommodated for.