Summarizing Nonfiction

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 2, 2011, 4:03 p.m.

crickets. So, what can you do to help that reader navigate through an extensive piece of nonfiction and sift through the facts to uncover what’s most important?

Try text feature bingo! In order to play, you will first need to teach the features that are commonly found in a nonfiction text: photographs, captions, drawings, tables/charts, graphs, maps, table of contents, titles, and bold/italicized words. Bring in “mentor texts” that have good examples of each of these. Go on searches as a class to see how many you can find in a textbook or encyclopedia. Then, pass out the bingo sheet found within this blog and have your readers use it to find all of the features in their nonfiction text. If they need to name the key point, pose the following prompt: What do all of your features have in common? Do any of them talk about the same thing? Gather facts found in each feature, group together similar ideas, and you will uncover what the author wanted you to remember most.


Happy teaching,
Kelly Harmon

Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

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Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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