**I tweaked this lesson the second time that I taught it for 2 reasons. There was too much writing on the original worksheet, so I took out some of that. I also cut apart several copies of the 'headers' and passed a few cards to each student so they could look for specific text features. They really enjoyed that.
The reason that I've featured this lesson is that 2nd grade students typically need the chance to practice using text features with familiar text. The first time they read a text (Social studies book, science text), they read for information, but typically do not garner what they can from the text features. I want them to look through the text again, focusing on these text features to go beyond the literal meaning and make inferences about ideas that the author presents.
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)
Common starting point
Take time to go through these features as quickly or slowly as your students need. I have taught multiple lessons about these features, so my students are very familiar with them. If you have not taught many lessons, then take a few moments to go through each one. The ability to know and use various text features to locate facts and information allows kids to better comprehend the text. (RI.2.5) It's worth the time to continually emphasize what the features are and model how the add meaning to the text. Too often, 2nd graders gloss over the diagrams, charts, and tables and focus on the text only. Taking time to model your thoughts ("that chart really helps me to see the kinds of democracy") allows the kids to see what they should be getting from these features.
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
The diagram in this text is a perfect opportunity to show the kids how specific images (diagrams, charts, etc) clarify and add meaning to the text. (RI.2.7) The Common Core Standards emphasize the use of these text features because they want students to realize the meaning that they add to the text. Through modeling and guided practice, encourage your students to take the time to look over the diagram or chart and analyze and infer, "What is it showing me? What meaning can I bring from this text feature?". This will seem very unnatural at first, pausing and talking out loud about each feature, but ultimately you're trying to make the kids more introspective and develop a habit of stopping at each text feature to analyze the meaning and add that to the text. This component of the inferences that I'm asking students to make about the text features really captures the “craft and structure” element of the standard - that the author is making strategic choices to convey information through different text features (RI.2.5).
Students Work Independently
Share what you know
I find that this 'turn and share' technique works well to give all of the kids the opportunity to tell what they have learned. You do have to set expectations for this technique the first few times you use it. I give the kids clear time lines - this is how much time you have - this is when you should switch. I also let them know that I'll be walking around listening to the ideas so they need to stay on topic. The kids are all expected to share equally and they know that I'll randomly call on a group to tell what one partner shared to the other partner. Setting up these expectations early in the year and giving the kids practice makes this activity rewarding, fun and reflective for the kids.
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
This lesson is great for kids with learning challenges because you step away from the wordiness of the text and focus on more illustrations and visual organization. That being said, asking them to explain in words what they infer can be more difficult. I would pair them up with a partner or work with them in a group. Allow them to share verbally and then help them write their ideas. Kids with learning challenges REALLY need to use the text features because the wording is often limited but the visuals offer lots of great information.
Challenge those with greater ability to dig deep and get deeper inferences. Instead of just saying that 'the diagram shows the parts of government', ask them to use more vocabulary and deeper descriptions, such as 'the branches of government and their organization are shown in the diagram.