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Friday, November 16, 2012

Investigating Informational Texts

Our third graders have been learning about how the library is organized so they can use the online catalog and find books independently.  In the beginning of the year we focused on the fiction sections of the library: Easies, Easy Readers, and Fiction.  These books are all shelved in alphabetical order by the author's last name.  Now we are exploring the Nonfiction section and the "informational texts" that can be found there.  This is what the students learned:
  • Informational texts live in the Nonfiction section of the library.
  • These books give us information, or facts, about a subject.
  • The call number always starts with a number.
  • The number comes from the book's subject.  (Thanks, Melville Dewey!)
  • These books are shelved in numerical order.
We investigated many different features of informational texts.  Here are some of the ones our students found:

A caption explains what's happening in a picture.  (This is a caption!)

A Table of Contents lists the chapters of the book in order and tells what page each begins on.

A labeled diagram is a scientific illustration.

A glossary defines words that were used in the book.  The index is an alphabetical list of all the topics that can be found in the book.

While not every informational text features photographs, our students found that most of them do!  

Each student wrote down an interesting fact from the book he or she was exploring.  Did you know...
"Pluto isn't a planet!"
"Some bugs have fake faces to scare away predators!"
"Some birds' feathers help the birds hide from other animals!"
"Bald eagles build onto their nests every year.  The heaviest bald eagle nest is heavier than your family car!"

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