Nonfiction Text Features

We have been focusing on reading and writing nonfiction. Here is a VoiceThread about some of the special features that nonfiction texts have. These features help the reader understand the information in the text.

We will be posting some of our own nonfiction writings very soon. Stay tuned to learn about topics like baseball cards, Nintendo DS, cheerleading, Pokemon, special pets, and much more!

Do you prefer to read nonfiction or fiction?

Is there a nonfiction feature that you find most useful?

41 thoughts on “Nonfiction Text Features

  1. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    What a fantastic non-fiction VoiceThread teaching about the elements of non-fiction books! I love it!

    My students have been using a lot of non-fiction books lately. For one, we have been learning how to research and take notes on an animal. The table of contents is very useful for finding big ideas like what an animal looks like or what it eats. The photographs and glossary have been quite valuable as well. Ethan was reading about scorpions and it said the legs were jointed …the glossary helped him learn what a joint was!

    Another type of non-fiction book that my students are using is a biography. A biography is the story of a person’s life. Some of the biographies have timelines at the back of the book and that was a useful feature too.

    My favorite parts of non-fiction books are the photos and captions. Seeing something is very powerful! If it is an animal, I like seeing it up close. If it is a biography, I enjoy seeing what the person looked like when they were young.

    I cannot wait to share your fabulous VoiceThread with my students on Monday. They are going to love it!

    Well done!

    Your pal,
    Mrs. Yollis

    • Dear Mrs. Yollis,

      We are so glad that you enjoyed our post! It was a lot of fun making the VoiceThread, and it helped us really understand the benefits of all the cool features that nonfiction texts have.

      Only one of the books we were reading (about the history of inventions) had a timeline, but we will be reading biographies soon.

      I would have to say that a diagram is my favorite feature. They are packed with so much information.

      Your blogging buddy,
      Mr. Salsich

  2. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    I really enjoyed the VoiceThread about nonfiction books because they gave us the parts of a book. In fact, I am reading a nonfiction book called A Picture Book of John F. Kennedy. In the time line, I learned that he was in the United States Navy from 1941-1945, and he served in the United States Senate from 1953-1961. Did you know that?


    ( Mrs. Yollis’ student)

  3. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    Your post has helped me understand non-fiction books’ text features.

    I found a caption in my book The Picture Life Of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it told me that in 1943 Mr. Roosevelt met with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill.

    Happy Posting,

  4. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    The name of my biograpy book title is called Pocahontas Daughter of a Chief. I used the timeline,and it helped me by helping me find out what is going to happen. What is the title of your biograpy?

    Aaliyah 🙂

  5. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    In our class, we are also learning about nonfiction books. My book is called Zebras. I used a diagram to help me find out about body parts. I looked up the mane. A mane is the fur that a zebra has on its neck. I as well used the glossary to find out what a mane is. Have you ever heard of a mane?

    (in Mrs. Yollis’ class)
    P.S. Great post!

  6. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    We also read non-fiction books. I used the glossary of the book Jaguars to figure out what the word rosette [ro Zet] means. Rosette means a spot or a group of spots that look like a flower.


  7. Dear Mr. Salsich’ class,

    We are reading nonfiction books too. My book is, Sandra Day O’Connor: First Woman on the Supreme Court . The caption of Sandra’s college years was very helpful.

    One photo of John Jay O’Connor (Sandra’s husband) is helping Sandra with her judicial robe in 1979.


  8. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    Your VoiceThread was amazing!

    I’m reading a non-fiction biography book called Susan B. Anthony, and the text feature I’m writing about is the timeline in my book. Susan Brownwell Anthony wanted men and woman to have the same rights. Sadly, she died 14 years before woman got the right to vote. She was 86 when she died. That’s a pretty good age! She was alive when the Civil War started and ended. In fact, she was 45 when it ended. In 1872, she voted in the presidential election. One year later, she was sent to the trial for voting.

    I’m so happy that woman can vote now! They wouldn’t be able to vote if it wasn’t for Susan Brownwell Anthony!

    Kayla 🙂

    (Mrs. Yollis’ student)

  9. Dear Mr. Salsich

    The book I’m reading is called Scorpions. One text feature I used is the map. Did you know that scorpions live all over the world. Did any of your students do the map on the scorpions?



    • Dear Ethan,

      My class really enjoyed a book called “Scorpions vs. Tarantulas” because it compared the two arachnids on a lot of different factors; like venom, defense, speed, etc. It is a very cool book!

      The map in the VoiceThread shows where scorpions live and where tarantulas live.

      Mr. Salsich

  10. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    This post helped me learn a lot. I have a non-fiction book too, it is called Sea Turtles. In this book, I found a lot of things in the table of contents. I found a chapter that I thought was interesting and it is called Save the Sea Turtles and one fact is that they think that plastic bags look like their favorite food, jellyfish.


    Ava (from Mrs. Yollis’ class)

    • Dear Ava,

      Thanks for the wonderful comment! I like using the table of contents when I want to go right to an interesting topic. We also learned about the dangers that plastic bags poise towards sea turtles when we were studying conservation. Now I always try to use reusable containers and cloth bags instead of plastic.

      When I lived in Belize, I got to help protect sea turtle nests and watch the babies hatch at night. They were hawksbill turtles. It was an incredible experience!

      Your friend,
      Mr. Salsich

  11. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    I learned a lot from your slide show. Reading nonfiction books is what I like to do. In fact I’m reading one called Elephants. Did you know the trunk of an elephant is used for an elephant to drink, eat, breathe, and smell. The tusk is used to break off a piece of salt. I got that information from the contents. It said information for Tusk and Trunk.

    Thank you for the wonderful slide show I learned a lot.

    Your pal,
    Scarlet (Mrs. Yollis’ student)

  12. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    Your post is very interesting. We are also reading nonfiction books for our animal reports and our biography.

    In my book, Elizabeth Blackwell: The First Woman Doctor the table of contents was very helpful. It helped me for finding the subject I wanted to read. For an example, I wanted to know when she decided to be the first woman doctor so I went to the chapter called A Dream Begins. The table of contents is a very helpful tool.

    (In Mrs. Yollis’ class)

  13. Dear Mr. Salsich

    That was a great VoiceThread! While reading a non-fiction animal book called Coyote I found a text feature called a map. The map shows where coyote habitats are. Right now, coyotes live in all of the contiguous U.S.A and some of Alaska, part of Canada, all of Mexico, and Central America. Since wolves are getting hunted, coyotes are moving into abandoned wolf territories.

    Coyotes prefer to live in open plains, but coyotes are so adaptable which allows them to live anywhere but Antarctica! Isn’t it amazing!


  14. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    We are also learning about non-fiction books. I am reading a book called Amelia Earhart. The thing that I used to learn more about her is the timeline. One of the facts that I learned was that in 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first person to fly the Atlantic in May!

    (A student in Mrs. Yollis’ class)

  15. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    That was a great post! We have nonfiction books in our class and mine is called Gila Monsters. While I was reading it, I used a picture to see what the Gila Monster looks like. They have black and orange scales and very sharp claws. Its small black eyes blend in with the scales on its head.


    • Dear Charlie,

      Gila Monsters are so amazing! I love their warning colors and their short, thick tail that stores fat for when they get hungry. Plus, they have a pretty awesome name!

      Mr. Salsich

  16. Dear Mr. Salsick

    I am reading a book called A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln , and what helped me was the time line. I was trying to find out who killed him and when. The person who killed him was John Wilkes Booth, an actor who favored the South. He died on April 14.

    (Mrs. Yollis class)

  17. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    Our class is learning about nonfiction books too. I used a picture to describe my animals body feature. I found out that the roadrunner has a lot of colors on it.

    Moraiya =-)

  18. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    Your post is so intresting. My nonfiction book is
    Sacagawea: Indian Guide. One of the text feature I used was the table of contents. It helped me when I needed to find a chapter.


  19. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    I have a non-fiction book too. I am reading a biography about “Alexander Graham Bell” and found some interesting text features. I found a diagram (sketch) of the telephone. When the sketch had a “M” it meant motor, as in the motor of the telephone. If there was a “S” it meant sound, as in the part of the telephone you talk or make sound into.

    The introduction also taught me something about Alexander. He wanted to know everything about sound. As in, “How was sound made?” “How did the human voice work?” But the big question he was most interested in was, ” Could sound travel through electric wires?” and got interested in making the invention called the “telephone”.

    There was also a fact in the timeline. He was the president of … National Geographic in 1898! It is one of the most interesting facts I have ever heard in my life! He also made the slogan, and the slogan was, “The World And All That’s In It!” He made National Geographic one of the most popular companies in the country. It was a smash hit!

    Richie (in Mrs. Yollis’ class)

    • Dear Richie,

      Thanks for that outstanding comment! I never knew that Alexander Graham Bell was the president of National Geographic. Thanks for being my teacher!

      Mr. Salsich

  20. Dear Mr.Salsich,

    I like your post. I am reading a nonfiction book called
    Diamondback Rattlesnake. I found that vertebrate is animal that has a backbone in the Glossary. That means
    we are in the vertebrate class.

    Paul 🙂

  21. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    I love your VoiceThread! Our class is reading a nonfiction book. I have a book that is called Cheetahs. It is the fastest mammal on earth! I use the table of contents to find information about cheetahs. The chapter was called “How They Look.” I looked up the cheetahs body in my book. The cheetah’s color is yellow with black spots.

    Best wishes,
    Jollene :}

  22. Dear Mr. Salsich and class,

    We are also learning about nonfiction books! One text feature I used is the Table of Contents. When I was taking notes for my animal report on the blue whale, in the book blue whales, I went to Table of Contents and found the chapter What They Eat. It helped me a lot on the diet section.

    Another text feature I used is the Glossary. When I was browsing in the chapter, What They Eat, and I stumped along the word krill. I immediately went to the glossary and found out what krill means. It means tiny shrimp-like creatures on which whales feed on, and they are a member of the crustacean family.

    Yours truly,

  23. Dear Mr. Salsich’s class,

    We are also learning about nonfiction books. I’m reading a book called Dangerous Adventure: Lindbergh’s Famous Flight. It is a biography about Charles Lindbergh’s life. I used the timeline and found that he bought his first plane in 1923.

    (Mrs. Yollis’ student)

  24. Dear Mr. Salsich,

    My book that I’m reading is called Milton Hershey Chocolate King. My texts features are the index and a biography timeline. Do all of the people in your class, have nonfiction books?

    Your buddy from Mrs. Yollis class,

  25. Dear class,

    I really like the voice thread because I could understand it clearly. When I listened to the voice thread it sounded like you guys were right in front of me. I really liked it – awesome voice thread!

    Your friend Kyle

  26. Dear Mr Salsich,

    Thank you for helping your students to make such a wonderful Voicethread. The students in 2KM often have trouble remembering all the different parts to a non-fiction text and your Voicethread proved to be a very valuable lesson for them!

    I was so impressed with how everyone spoke so clearly and with so much expression! I think Americans are very clever at speaking with expression!

    From your friends down under,
    Miss McGeady and 2KM

  27. Hi Mr. Salsich and class,

    I loved your Voicethread on the features of non-fiction books. I’ll be showing it to my class to help them with their understanding. They’ll really enjoy seeing another class using Voicethread too – we’re just getting into it.

    Thanks again
    From Sarah and Five Degrees.

  28. Thank you for the video about text features. They were very helpful. That was very awesome. We liked how you worked together. We loved your teamwork. Your video will help us understand what text features are.

    Mrs. Myers’ 2nd Grade Class

  29. Dear Class,

    Thank you for your very helpful information about nonfiction books. I am training to be a teacher and your information has helped me with my class as we are also learning about nonfiction books. We are in New Zealand, a very small country almost at the bottom of the earth.
    I hope my students find your work as enjoyable and helpful as I did.

    Keep up the good work,

    From Mrs Frewin, Napier, New Zealand.

  30. Aloha Mr. Salsich!

    I really enjoyed your voicethread created by your students about Nonfiction features. I am a K-5 librarian in Hawaii and I’ve been sharing with my students the nonfiction keys that help to located information in a book. I love it that it was done from student’s point of view. Thank you for sharing it with the world! When time permits, please visit my blog @ as I embedded your voicethread in one of my post.

    In Hawaii we say, “Mahalo Nui Loa!” (Thank you very much),


  31. Great voicethread about non fiction books. We’re using non fiction books to help us research food chains and food webs.

    Thanks for explaining so clearly!
    Sycamore Class, Devon, UK

  32. Hello Mrs. Salsich’s class,
    We really liked your video. We liked the picture of the alien…good thing it was fiction! We are learning about nonfiction books.
    Thanks for making a great video!
    Mrs. Dumas’ a.m. kindergarten class
    F.M. Kearns School
    Granby, CT

  33. Dear Mr. Salsich’s class,

    The video was great because it told us about some words that we didn’t know. We have been learning about reading nonfiction books. Thank you for telling us all about the things YOU know about nonfiction books!

    Mrs. Dumas’ p.m. kindergarten class
    F.M. Kearns School
    Granby, CT

  34. Dear Mr. Salsich’s class,

    I was so excited when I saw your blog! It is just what I need. On Friday I am going to be teaching some elementary teachers about non-fiction text features and I am going to use your blog. Teachers in grades K-5 will listen to your classmates teach us! You will certainly be famous in NY after that! Many thanks for your hard work!!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. K.

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