I'm a big fan of textmapping (check out the site www.textmapping.org
) which is the brain child of a Mr. Dave Middlebrook. The process is a lot of work and takes some time to set up, but it is SO worth it! I've used this technique to teach nonfiction features the past couple of years. Here's how the process works.
1. You photocopy a book (or at least a good part of the book). I like to shrink the text down to 60% so two pages of the book fit on one 8X11 sheet of paper. This also usually allows for a BIG margin where the kiddos can record their thinking, too.
2. If you haven't already, you introduce the concept of nonfiction features and of how you read nonfiction DIFFERENTLY than fiction, like eating an apple is different than eating an orange. (This SHOULD be a lesson by itself BEFORE the textmapping.)
3. You glue or tape the pages side by side creating one LONG text scroll. You can do this ahead of time, OR let the kiddos do it. My 5th graders worked in groups of 3 or 4 and LOVED putting their scrolls together with their glue sticks! (I kept hearing, "This is fun!" and "COOL!" and "Look how LONG the book is!")
4.Invite the students to go on a "treasure hunt" in search of those textfeatures. They should highlingt and label those features as they find them. One suggestion would be to use certain colored highlighters to tag certain features, like all headings would be yellow, all captions would be pink, all diagrams would be blue, etc.
5. After a given amount of time (about 5 -10 minutes), ask the students what they noticed about the book and make a list on either chart paper or on computer using projector to use as an anchor chart for the rest of the year.
There's so much more I wish I had time to say, but it's getting late this evening. Let's just say that these kiddos will definitely remember this activity longer than they could remember any worksheet covering those features. These kids were EXCITED to be learning about text features!
Remember, check out Dave Middlebrook's website
if you want a much BETTER description. Also, you'll find photographs and descriptions of students of all ages working with scrolls there. You can also see a few more of my photos on my Flickr page.
It's just well worth your time!