Looking for Text Features

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last week, I received the “Big Ideas” newsletter for December from the Smekens Education website. Kristina Smekens is a 6 + 1 Traits trainer who provides professional development for teachers. Her website biography describes her as “a speaker and author who works with K-12 teachers sharing practical strategies for teaching writing, reading comprehension, and vocabulary development.” I’ve been to a few of Smekens’s workshops, and take useful, practical ideas away from each one.

The suggestion from this month's newsletter that I want to share is about looking for text features in untraditional places. The piece said:
More on Text Features
Students often perceive text features as decoration or filler. They don't read text outside of the gray body paragraphs. However, text features serve a purpose. They are there to provide the reader additional information. It's imperative that students see text features as more than eye candy!
Consider modeling the power of text features with high-interest texts like a page or two from the Guinness Book of World Records or even the front and back sides of sports trading cards. Click here for a sample card with questions that target QAR.
If you want students to actually read the text features, consider only asking questions about the content within them. Have them pull details from text features, or draw conclusions based on facts within the text features. These could make for a great literacy station or a fabulous activity for morning or bell work. We've got to get our students to read text features and glean the information offered within them. These are NOT decorations.
You can subscribe to the Big Ideas newsletter or read old editions of it here.
Or, if you like this idea, Smekens provides an idea library on her website with TONS of ideas that you can easily use.


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