Textmapping: Worth the Work! (Teaching Nonfiction Text Features)

I'm a big fan of textmapping (check out the site www.textmapping.org) which is the brain child of a Mr. Dave Middlebrook. The process is a lot of work and takes some time to set up, but it is SO worth it! I've used this technique to teach nonfiction features the past couple of years. Here's how the process works.

1. You photocopy a book (or at least a good part of the book). I like to shrink the text down to 60% so two pages of the book fit on one 8X11 sheet of paper. This also usually allows for a BIG margin where the kiddos can record their thinking, too.

2. If you haven't already, you introduce the concept of nonfiction features and of how you read nonfiction DIFFERENTLY than fiction, like eating an apple is different than eating an orange. (This SHOULD be a lesson by itself BEFORE the textmapping.)

3. You glue or tape the pages side by side creating one LONG text scroll. You can do this ahead of time, OR let the kiddos do it. My 5th graders worked in groups of 3 or 4 and LOVED putting their scrolls together with their glue sticks! (I kept hearing, "This is fun!" and "COOL!" and "Look how LONG the book is!")

4.Invite the students to go on a "treasure hunt" in search of those textfeatures. They should highlingt and label those features as they find them. One suggestion would be to use certain colored highlighters to tag certain features, like all headings would be yellow, all captions would be pink, all diagrams would be blue, etc.

5. After a given amount of time (about 5 -10 minutes), ask the students what they noticed about the book and make a list on either chart paper or on computer using projector to use as an anchor chart for the rest of the year.

There's so much more I wish I had time to say, but it's getting late this evening. Let's just say that these kiddos will definitely remember this activity longer than they could remember any worksheet covering those features. These kids were EXCITED to be learning about text features!

Remember, check out Dave Middlebrook's website if you want a much BETTER description. Also, you'll find photographs and descriptions of students of all ages working with scrolls there. You can also see a few more of my photos on my Flickr page.

It's just well worth your time!

Views: 86221

Tags: features, nonfiction, reading, textmapping

Comment by Stephanie Bullock on September 17, 2008 at 8:07pm
I love the idea of using photocopied pages of a book! I usually stick with articles from Time for Kids magazines or other newsworthy articles, but now I'm thinking I might start small and then move into a book as you've described. Then I could ask the children to select a nonfiction book for independent reading and gauge their level of understanding based on what they can produce on their own.
Comment by Kathy Heim on September 18, 2008 at 8:37am
I love using the textmapping strategy as well, and I'm using it with a wordless picture book next week to model thinking through a text. Loved the pictures, especially placing them above the text maps in the hallway. Now I'm going to make sure my camera is charged up and ready to record my students as they navagate through the text. Thanks for the picures!
Comment by Roxie Geerdes on January 25, 2009 at 5:18pm
Michelle I love this idea and plan to use it with my 7th and 8th grade reading students. I am always looking for ideas like this. Thanks for starting this group. Even though I teach middle school I often adapt elementary ideas for my students. I see you teach at MOC. I grew up in George and my High school VB coach Leanne McMillen I think still teaches there. Small World.
Comment by Brian Rock on November 28, 2017 at 7:50pm

Awesome idea. The features and structure of a text are important, and this looks like a way to make that enjoyable and fun. I wish my high school kids had done this when they were younger.


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