Informational texts contain several key features students need to know in order to be able to access this type of text effectively. Teaching students these key features should be intentional and meaningful to improve their abilities in this area.
To become effective readers of informational texts, students need to understand:
- the features that identify nonfiction writing;
- the selective way nonfiction is read according to the reader’s purpose;
- the ways organizational features such as indexes, content pages, glossaries, and headings help the reader access the text;
- the specialized language and language structures used to convey information;
- how visual literacy such as photographs, diagrams, maps, and charts combine with written text to convey information;
- how information in captions and labels combines with running text to convey information; and
- strategies for using prior knowledge and experience to engage in inquiry.
(from “Informational Texts” by Dr. Brenda Parkes)