Informational Text - How Does It Help?

21 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify text features from an informational text story and use those as images that add meaning to the text.

Big Idea

Bingo with informational text features!!


  • Short informational texts – one for each student- try to cover most the text features with the books you choose – you can use longer books, but the students will have to pick a section short enough to read 
  • sample informational text and literature book for demonstration - here's the sample book that I used
  • Using Info Text Features powerpoint
  • Informational Text Features - printed and cut out  
  • Informational Text Bingo cards – one for each student mixed #1-5  
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: text features, text features 
  • Set up the whiteboard
  • Draw the bingo picture (from the worksheet) on the board. On the bottom of the whiteboard bingo chart, write "I learned that _________________."


This is one of the first lessons I've taught about using informational text features with informational text. This kind of reading is so important for 2nd graders because they are now reading to learn, especially in science and social studies. It is worth spending the text highlighting these features for students and modeling how important it is to garner information from them as they read.

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)


Activate prior knowledge

  • Show powerpoint slide 1  Ask "Do you recognize either of these books?  How are these books the same?  How could they be different?  What do we use these books for?"
  • "Today we will play some bingo - who likes that game?  Instead of numbers, we'll play with 'text features'.  You've heard the word before... who remembers who a 'text feature' might be"
  • "We'll have to use informational text to talk about these text features. Does anyone know what an informational text is?"
    • Reference your social studies text or non-fiction books that you've read
    • "How do these texts help us..How are they used? Where are they in the classroom?"

Teachers' Turn

15 minutes

Explain the concepts

  • "Let's contrast literature and informational text.  (slides 1-4) 
    • Literature (fiction) entertains us and tells a story that is not necessarily true.
    • Informational text (non-fiction) gives us information and facts and is true."
  • Contrast the amount and kinds of text features (slides 5)
    • "Text features help us understand the text better."
    • "Here are the different kinds of text features."  (slide 6)


My goal is that students become familiar with the words, prompts and descriptions of each text feature. I’m using the pictures, words, and descriptions in this lesson, but I’m hoping they’ll hear the vocabulary often enough that they’ll not need the pictures at some point.


Model the skill and practice

  • "Take a look at the text features for literature and informational text." (slides 7-21). 
  • "Let me demonstrate how to find and identify text features. I'm going to read through these books and fill out the information on the organizer on the board."
    • Read the books (or at least skim if its long and fill out the organizer)
    • Pick out what is on the board bingo and cross it off. Make sure to comment each time how the feature helps you learn. (The heading shows me what is on the page so I know what I’m reading about” or “That quote gives me an idea of how well he spoke.”)
  • "Now that I'm done, let me write what I learned.  For example… “I learned from the caption that George Washington did not have white hair – that was a wig!”


The Common Core standards encourage students to know and use various text features to locate facts or information in books efficiently. (RI.2.5) Students who can do ‘close reading’ and use these features (charts, map, graphs, captions) to gain information and answer questions will be better readers. 

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • Pass out an informational text to each student.  (I would not let them pick – it would take too long) and a bingo sheet. Mix up the sheets #1-5  (Slide 23)
  • "As you get this sheet, read your text.  Why is this important?"  Here's and explanation from a student using explaining why she reads first video.
  • "At first you’ll only see the description because I want to see if we can work as a group to figure out what the text feature is by what it helps us with. Then I’ll show a picture and the name of the text feature."
  • "When I say 'look', then you should look through your book. You must wait until I say ‘look’ to start looking because I want you to pay attention to the group activity. If you have that text feature, then you can cross it off with an ‘x’.  There are no winners until I say ‘stop’. The winners will be the ones with the numbers of ‘x’s that I say. If I see you crossing off a text feature, I may call on you to show the class and tell how it will help you.” (This will encourage honesty and connect back to the true goal – identifying how the text features help us) 
  • Use this cue word ‘look’ to keep focus on the group activity and then the individual activity of looking in their book. If students have difficulty, warn them that they can’t participate if they can’t follow the rules.


Slides 23-29 have the text feature pictures or descriptions displayed before it names the text feature (by clicking). I would check to make sure the animation and see if it works before you use it for the class. It was powerful to have the kids work as a group to identify these features by picture and description.


Read and find text features

  • Go through slides 23-39 with the class, giving them time to identify the feature by the picture or description.
  • Here's a picture of a student student working on her bingo card with her book.
  • Then determine winner by who has the least number of text features crossed off. Of course I’m going to wait until I’ve gone through the slides and then say the minimum number of ‘x’s’ so they all win.
  • "You are a winner if you have ..... text features off. Wow you all won!"
  • Here's an example of a student's worksheet.

Apply What You Know!

15 minutes


  • "Now flip over your paper and copy the sentence on the board."
  • "Think of a text feature that helped you.  "The ...... helped me because..... " 
  • Give some examples but encourage students to use a variety of text features by looking back through their book.
  • Here's an example of one students' sentences.
  • Call on some students to share their ideas.  Make comments about what feature they picked and prompt with some ideas - "Did the map help find....?  "It seems that chart helped you compare - what is it comparing?"  
  • This was one of my student's comments and answer.


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

Students with limited ability should work with a partner because of the reading difficulty and the vocabulary level. Searching for text features and working as a group could be overwhelming because there are so many words. They could also write together about how a text feature helped them or you could use prompts for sentences.

Students with greater ability should be challenged to use deeper reasoning and higher vocabulary when sharing and with the "Apply" activity. They could be a model to the other students by using higher level reasoning - instead of saying 'the map helped me know where he was born' they could share that 'geography helps me determine the birthplace of this character.".