15+ Popular Nonfiction Text Features Students Should Know

To master reading comprehension of nonfiction books, students must be able to identify and analyze nonfiction text features.

Nonfiction text is all around us.

Newspapers, magazine articles, textbooks, posters, billboards, advertisements, recipe books, and encyclopedias are just a sample of the various types of nonfiction print students are exposed to on a regular basis. 

Unfortunately in schools, especially in the elementary grades, much more attention seems to be given to fiction books. That’s why it’s important to include more nonfiction books during instruction. 

It’s essential to teach students how to understand the many different text features of nonfiction books so that they comprehend those books fully. 

Within this post, you’ll find a list of nonfiction text features that students should know if they are to become great leaders. Examples accompany each of the nonfiction text features.

The nonfiction text features listed include bold text, bullet points, captions, diagrams, labels, glossary, graph, headings, illustrations, index, italics, map, photograph, table, table of contents, title, and title page.

Provide plenty of opportunities for students to identify and analyze each of these features.

Nonfiction Text Features List

Following you will find nonfiction text features examples. These features of a nonfiction text are key to students’ comprehending beter.

Bold Text

Brings attention to important terms found in the nonfiction book.

nonfiction text features

Bullet Points

Breaks text into a list format, making it easier to read

nonfiction text features

Caption

A short statement or phrase that provides information about an image usually located underneath an image

non-fiction text features

Diagram With Labels

A labeled illustration that serves to explain a concept visually

nonfiction text features

Glossary

A mini dictionary that defines key words from the text selection

nonfiction text features

Graph

A visual aid (e.g. a chart) that clarifies or compares facts and/or concepts

nonfiction text features

Headings

Titles that divide the text into meaningful sections. Headings give clues to the main idea of the section that follows.

nonfiction text features

Illustrations

A visual representation of a word, usually drawn

nonfiction text features

Index

Lists in alphabetical order the page numbers of key topics found within the nonfiction book

nonfiction text features

Italics

Emphasizes the importance of a word. Readers should emphasize italicized words as they read.

nonfiction text features

Map

A visual representation of a geographic feature that helps readers understand where places are in the world. Maps usually include a distance scale and/or key.

nonfiction text features

Photographs

A camera-shot image that shows what something looks like

nonfiction text features

Table

A type of graphic organizer that outlines facts and figures in a way that’s easily understood by the reader

NameOrder from Sun# of MoonsDays in Rotation
Mercury1059 Earth days
Venus20243 Earth days
Earth3124 hours
Mars42~24.5 hours
Jupiter516~10 hours
Saturn62110 hours, 40 min.
Uranus71817 hours, 14 min.
Neptune88~16 hours

Table of Contents

The table of contents, located towards the beginning of a nonfiction book, outlines each section included in the text.

It provides section titles along with the page number on which each section begins.

nonfiction text features

Title

The main idea of the entire nonfiction book. It is located at the beginning of the text, on the title or cover page.

nonfiction text features

Title Page

Shows a nonfiction book’s title, author, illustrator, and publisher; may include an image that represents the main idea of the book

nonfiction text features

Final Thoughts: Nonfiction Text Features

It’s simply not enough for students to be able to read a nonfiction book for pleasure. 

They need to be able to use text features for nonfiction in order to find and understand information. This is reading with a purpose. 

Teaching students how to use nonfiction text features will help them comprehend better, research topics more fully, and enjoy reading a wider variety of books. 

So be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for them to put these skills into practice. Try out this nonfiction text features activity with students.

If you found this list of text features useful, you might like to see … list of fiction text features.