Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Behind the Books: Three Melissas and Nonfiction Text Features

Last week during a Twitter conversation, @mtechman a.k.a. Melissa Techman, the K-5 School Librarian in Charlottesville, VA, mentioned that the Common Core ELA standards have left teachers searching for effective ways to teach nonfiction text features. She pointed me to this great blog written by Melissa Clancy, a kindergarten teacher at Bates Elementary School in Wellesley, MA. Mrs. Clancy created the great text feature poster (above).

And she was inspired by a poster (below) she spotted on Pinterst. This is what social media is all about!
Anyway, this started me thinking about how I could help educators teach their students about nonfiction text features. And the answer seemed obvious. Create a video mini-lesson. Enjoy!

Note: This post was updated in September 2017 to replace information about a now out-of-print book with a link to a brand new video mini-lesson based on my experiences as an author and samples created by students I've worked with.


  1. I love your "place for..." series for just those reasons!

  2. It's interesting to really dissect nonfiction books and see what makes them works. I gravitate to books with sidebars, resources, activities and a variety of images (like yours of course). For me, I think they allow you to share age-appropriate information with preschoolers, but then you can read more deeply with older children.

  3. You're right, Kirsten. The text layers make the ideas accessible to a broader range of kids, and that's exactly what I had in mind.

    Also, the book is perfect for teaching cause and effect text structure. You can combine it with my book Frog or Toad? What's the Difference? to braoden the lesson by including a discussion of compare and contast text structure.

  4. Steve Jenkins books are great for teaching text features, as you delve deeply into his focus question--how his book is organized. He includes maps, comparison pictures, question/answer structures (to name a few).