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Informational Text Use in the Third Grade Classroom

  1. Introduce topic to students. Ask them what they already know about the topic. Record what they answer on the KWL chart, under the K “know” section. Ask them what they want to know about the topic or questions they may have about the topic. Record their answers under the W “want to know” section.
  2. Introduce the informational text to the students. Pass out individual copies of the book being explored.
  3. Have students follow along with investigation of the informational text.
    Point out the items listed below, to show students how to navigate an informational text:
    • introduction notes
    • diagrams
    • table of contents
    • glossary or “words to know”
    • “to find out more” or resources index
    • meet the author/illustrator
    • captions
  4. Have students explore the text by themselves. Have them flip through the pages, look at pictures, and/or read some of the text. Remind them to keep a special eye out for the questions we had under the “W” section. Can they find the answers?
  5. Instruct students to take a post-it note and “post” a picture, illustration, and/or text that they find interesting or want to know more about. Have students write their special fact right on the post-it note.
  6. Pick out a specific picture and text on the same page:
    Emphasize that nonfiction illustrations often give new information not found in the text. This is one way that nonfiction is different than fiction. In fiction, pictures support the text but usually do not add new information.
  7. To explain this concept further have students look at a labeled picture and make a list of everything they can learn just by looking at the picture. Next read the just the text. What new information did they learn? Where did they learn more? Looking at the picture or reading the text?
  8. Follow up with filling in the L “learned” section of the chart with the post-it notes. Answer the questions from the “W” section as well. Record answers in that section.