What is Informational Text? - Definition, Characteristics & Examples

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  • 0:01 Where Is Informational…
  • 0:32 What Is Informational Text?
  • 1:21 Examples
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Andrew Sedillo

Andrew Sedillo has taught Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology at a middle school level. He currently holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Education, Master's of Arts Educational Learning Technology, and a Graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Learning.

Expert Contributor
Jenna Clayton

Jenna received her BA in English from Iowa State University in 2015, and she has taught at the secondary level for three years.

This lesson will help you understand and identify all components of informational text. Learn more about informational text and see examples in this lesson.

Where is Informational Text Found?

We learn something every day by reading. Whether we know it or not, we learn through various reading sources like social media, smart phone applications and newspapers. These texts are informative because they build upon our prior knowledge or feed us with information we did not know. This is one of the most popular types of writing, and it is known as informational text. Learn more about informational text and its features through this lesson.

What is Informational Text?

Informational text is nonfiction writing, written with the intention of informing the reader about a specific topic. It is typically found in magazines, science or history books, autobiographies and instruction manuals. They are written using special text features that allow the reader to easily find key information and understand the main topic. The author will do this by providing headers over certain sections, by placing important vocabulary in bold type, and by using visual representations with captions. These visual representations can be pictures or even infographics that include tables, diagrams, graphs and charts. In some cases the author will even provide the reader with a table of contents or a glossary to assist them in finding the information easily.

Examples

It is important to understand that simply being classified as nonfiction is not enough to make text informational. Special text features and a special type of vocabulary that make it informational text. Let's look at some examples of informational text.

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Additional Activities

Informational Text Writing Activity

Short-Answer Essay Questions

For this activity, respond to the following short-answer essay questions about informational text. Since these questions are short-answer, writing two to three well-developed paragraphs will be sufficient. Although your answers will be fairly succinct, make sure to answer clearly, concisely, and thoroughly.

Questions:

  1. What are the features common in most informational texts? Explain the significance of these features.
  2. Explain the difference between nonfiction and informational texts.
  3. A class syllabus, flyers, brochures, and website articles are all examples of informational text. Provide other examples of informational text and explain what makes them informational.

A Possible Answer to Question #1:

Some common features in informational texts include headers, bold type, visual representations, and captions. All of these features are used to help organize the information on a specific topic. For example, a National Geographic article would likely contain headers, bold type, visual representations, and captions to arrange the information in a clear and logical way.

Headers are used to communicate section titles and subtitles. By including headers, readers know what to expect in each section of writing. Informational text writers may also choose to emphasize certain words, such as vocabulary words, by using bold type. For magazine articles, especially ones like National Geographic, visual representations may be used to explain a complex or confusing idea. Visual representations may include charts, diagrams, and tables. Also, these visual representations are usually accompanied by captions that further explain the image.

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