According to the informational text guru, Nell K. Duke (2004), whom I have had the pleasure to hear speak,
"More than anything, struggling readers need plenty of
opportunities to read text that makes sense to them. Requiring
students to spend most of their school time reading books that
are too difficult makes it impossible for them to learn and to
develop as readers (Allington, 2002).
"Students should spend most of their school reading time with
texts that they can read and want to read. Students tell us that
when we give them interesting materials that they can read
without too much difficulty, they will read (Ivey & Broaddus,
2001). Providing books that span the content areas, match
students' reading levels, and encompass a variety of formats and
genres is nonnegotiable if we want struggling readers to
The text that students "want" to read is clearly informational--I see this on a regular basis. This being said, I've put together an "Informational Text Feature Scavenger Hunt" that can help reinforce some of the most common features found when we read for information. I decided to premiere this activity at our Family Literacy Night held this Tuesday. I worked with my fellow first grade teachers. Here's how it works. Bring on the pics!
Above you see the informational text signs I printed out (graph and diagram). My first grade team and I searched through our classroom libraries to find the perfect example of each text feature. Here I am scanning a bar graph of how much a tiger eats. Then we used poster board and sticky photo squares to make our informational text feature posters. On each poster went the feature name and the example. Here are some terrific examples starting with the tiger feeding graph. We also cut and added arrows to target the feature and to avoid confusion.
Once our posters were laminated, we assembled the Informational Text Feature clue books for our young detectives. In the book are the clues that describe each text feature with a blank for an answer (the name of the text feature found on the posters).
Since literacy night was for the whole school, we did half of the features for K-2 to make it more age-appropriate and all the features for grades 3-5. We hung the posters along the basement hall where our literacy night station was positioned. Here is a side of the hall.
Since our youmg detectives were going to be using their clues to hunt for the correct informational text feature, they needed magnifying glasses and we needed detective hats-- both easily found on Amazon.com.
While on the case, our sleuths needed a clipboard. I made sure I had plenty on hand for students and their families.
This activity was a favorite among students, families and my colleagues. Look at my first grade colleague, Mrs. Girard spying
an example she found depicting a table of the planets. Shhh! This information remains classified!
Oh, no! Top secret. I was caught spying a neat table of contents. This better not be a red herring to throw me off track.
My Informational Text Feature Scavenger Hunt includes all of the informational text feature signs and clue book. Also, you get directions and an answer key. Just click here. You need to find your own examples in your classroom, school, or local library to add to the poster. Obviously, I can't include them due to copyright issues. We happened to hang our posters in the hall for our school event, but they can easily be hung in a classroom for a hunt. You may also be interested in creating informational text visuals to use as teaching points BEFORE you do this hunt. Click here for a past blog post about this. Have fun sending your readers on the case of locating the correct informational text feature!