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Using Text Features to Question


In this activity students will read text features, create a question based on a feature, and then read the text to answer the question. The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to utilize text features. This activity works best with texts that have multiple features like textbooks that include charts, graphs, photographs, or diagrams.


Select a text.
Create a model graphic organizer with three columns: Text Feature, Question, Answer.
Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce using text features to question.

    Ask students to work in pairs to brainstorm a list of all of the different types of text features they might find in a textbook. If this is an initial introduction to text features, it may be helpful to provide an example like the table of contents. 

  2. Model and explain the graphic organizer.

    Share a model of the graphic organizer with three columns. Label the three columns Text Feature, Question, Answer. Model filling in the first row by selecting one of the text features from the specific text students will be using. Write the name of the text feature (i.e., “chart on page 78”) in the second column. Think aloud as you create a question related to the text feature. Explain to students that you will read the text and try to answer the question you created. 

  3. Work in pairs to create questions.

    Students will work in pairs to list the text features in the reading and create a question based on each different one. 

  4. Read the text and answer the questions.

    Students will independently read the text and attempt to answer the questions they created.

  5. Pair and compare.

    Students will rejoin their pairs to share and compare the answers to their questions.

  6. Reflect

    Students can reflect independently or in pairs, in writing or through a discussion. Reflection questions could include:

    • What did you learn by reading the text feature?
    • Why do you think the author included this feature?
    • How did the feature help you understand the main idea of the text?
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