Text Features Comprehension Strategy


One such strategy is as simple as addressing text features.  Students do not all naturally recognize the features that publishers provide to assist them during reading.  These features must be taught (Blachowicz and Fisher, 2006).  Although students may be familiar with the aids that publishers provide, they do not always understand the purpose of the aids or what they, as students, should do in response (Robb, Klemp, and Schwartz, 2002).  For example, students need to learn the purpose of boldface and italics.  These types of print are used to get the reader’s attention and to alert the reader of something important.  These types of print often highlight vocabulary, heading, and titles—all elements that help students set learning objectives and ease understanding.  Glossaries not only provide useful information about the text, but they also give students practice with dictionary skills.  Charts and graphs impart a great deal of information in a graphic and interesting way.  However, students often need assistance understanding how to interpret the data and understanding the key.  Teaching the textual features is an excellent strategy for middle school students who have likely not encountered many non-fiction textbooks. 

Strategy Steps

  1. Bold print and italics.  Students often read this information at the same pace as everything else.  Encourage students to slow down and comprehend the information.
  2. Glossaries.  Students often hesitate to use this resource.  Encourage them to recognize the purpose of this tool.
  3. Pronunciation guides.  If students are to recognize and make words their own, we must teach students to say the words.
  4. Words defined contextually.  Students must understand how to use context clues in math in order to understand new vocabulary on their own.
  5. End-of-unit Exercises.  Teach students to preview the end-of-unit exercises to use as an anticipation guide for the new chapter.

    (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2006, p.100)

Implementation Guide

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