Finding Information in Nonfiction: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Nonfiction writing is based on facts, but sometimes it's hard to find the information you want in the text. In this lesson, you will learn about how to find information in nonfiction texts like textbooks, newspapers, and scientific magazines.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Many years ago, people used to stand on street corners selling newspapers. As they stood there, they would yell out 'Extra, extra! Read all about it!' and then proceed to say the main headlines of what was in the newspaper that day.

A newspaper seller selling newspapers

Nonfiction texts, like textbooks, newspapers, and journal articles, often have a lot of information in them. Sometimes when you're reading a nonfiction text it would be really helpful to have an old time newspaper seller yelling out what the text is all about! Luckily, we have text features instead. Text features are different parts of the text that help us locate and understand information.

What's the Big Idea?

An easy way to find information in nonfiction text is to look at the title. It's capitalized and can be found at the beginning of the text on a line by itself. The title tells you the big idea of the text. For example, if you're reading an article with the title 'The History of Rubber Ducks,' then you can be reasonably sure that the article is going to have something to do with rubber ducks and their history.

Another text feature is a heading. A heading is kind of like a title for a specific section of the text. Whereas the title tells you what the whole text will be about, the heading tells you what a paragraph or group of paragraphs will be about.

For example, in this image the title is highlighted in blue, while the heading for a section in the article is highlighted in yellow. What do you think this section is about?

Example of title and heading

This section has something to do with rubber ducks and the TV show Sesame Street. If you wanted to learn what Sesame Street has to do with rubber ducks, you could read this section. (Did you know Ernie's song 'Rubber Duckie' is what made them a popular toy? It's true!)

Picture It!

Have you ever taken a picture to capture the perfect sunset, or record an awesome time you were having with your friends? Just like your picture helps you to remember a specific time, there are text features to help you picture important information.

Pictures and illustrations help readers to literally see what they are reading. Pictures are real life photographs, while illustrations are images that are drawn.

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