Non-Fiction Text Features: Incorporating the Digital

There is so much to be gained from walking through the corridors of your school and popping in to see what classes are doing.

This morning, I happened to pop into Kim Duffy’s Grade 3 class and discovered a really neat learning experience the class was exploring on Non-Fiction Text Features in digital books.

Kim had set up a Google Doc for her kids with different text features noted on the side. Students were to log onto MyOn (an online book library), and read Non-Fiction texts. They were to take a screenshot of each feature outlined in the table (see below). She had a column for the screenshots, and a column for students to explain why the feature is used.

See example of a student’s work below:
Students now have a document with visual examples that they can refer back to when they create their own Non-Fiction books later on. We know that incorporating visuals helps students with retention of key information, and the fact that they actively searched for the examples of the text features will also be of benefit.
A few doors down, Daniel Withington was also looking at features of Non-Fiction text. It was great to see Grade 3 students identifying features of digital text as well, including hyperlinks, videos and search options. When Daniel’s students think about writing Non-Fiction text, they will think more broadly about the features they need to consider as authors because of this introduction.

It is wonderful to see teachers like Kim and Daniel naturally incorporate digital text as a part of their regular literacy lessons.

This reminds me of the arguments for teaching Digital Reading set forth in Kristin Ziemke‘s insightful blog post, Yes And… Thoughts on Print Versus Digital Reading. Kristin asks teachers to consider their own teaching practice:

 “Take a moment to reflect:

How many minilessons have you taught this year that guide students to become effective digital readers?
Do you have anchor charts or scaffolds in place that will support them as they attempt to read digitally with independence?
Have you provided ample time for them to read diverse genres or self-select their onscreen reading material?” 

It is a privilege to work with teachers who can answer these questions with confidence.

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