Non-Fiction Feature Fun!

Since starting our Animals Unit, we have been reading non-fiction books like cRaZy around here! The kids are so engaged, and thirsty for more non-fiction books.  I love being able to do so much non-fiction during the first semester because the kids are interested so much in it and it really gives first grade boys especially a really good reason to read!

Let’s chat about how to use non-fiction text features to engage students in reading and help their comprehension!

Throughout our animals unit, we focused on features of non-fiction text {labels, table of contents, photographs, captions, glossary, bold print and headings}.  You can read more about that here.  Now that we have introduced all of the features, we decided to do a little scavenger hunt to review the features and to get kids finding those features on their own.  I was going to make a handout for this, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it really accountable and first grade friendly.  We also discussed using sticky notes to mark features they found, but then I had an idea to let the kids take pictures!

I have 5 tech devices in my room {3 iPads and 2 iPod Touches}.  So, I divided my kids into 5 groups and gave each group 2 books.   They took turns being the photographer and we looked for one feature at a time.  I would call out a feature, and they hunted for it in their books and then took a picture.  I told them they could only take one picture for each feature, so they had to pic the best one!

They.Loved.This.  So much!!!  They literally squealed every time I gave them a new feature to hunt for.  Engagement was high, it was low prep for me, and they actually owned what they were learning and were able to ALL show me features from their text.

You can’t really see it that well in this picture, but they had their iPad propped up on the iPad cover so they could get a “clearer” picture.  So cute!

And in this group, the photographer kept telling the sweetie holding the book to hold it still and move it to the left or right.  I just loved watching them take this job so seriously!

And here are some of our best “shots.”  Nice zooming work on bold print! 🙂


They aren’t too bad at all!  My firsties seriously went on and ON about how much fun they had getting to be photographers.  We made a class agreement right then and there that we’d be looking for more “excuses” to take pictures of our learning in class!

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