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What is a Text Feature?


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What is a Text Feature?

Basics on the topic What is a Text Feature?

Text Features

What are text features in a book?, why are text features important?, and how are text features used? In this text, we will look at text features and find out what they are. Learn more below about text features in nonfiction books.

Text Features – Definition

What are text features in reading?

Text features are parts of the text that organize important information. Text features can be used in fiction and nonfiction texts.

Today we learn about text features in nonfictional texts. Remember, nonfictional texts are texts that are real and happen in real life, while fiction texts are made up and often include things that can not happen in real life such as animals talking.

Types of Text Features

What are the different types of text features? There are many different text features in nonfiction. In this text, we will look at three different types of nonfiction text features.

Text Features Examples

Take a look at the nonfiction text features practice picture below, which type of text feature do you notice?


In this picture we can see a picture with a phrase underneath. This type of text feature is the caption! The caption here gives us additional information about the book.

Nonfiction Text Features – Summary

What does the term text features mean? Today we learned about informative text features and how they help us to understand a text better. Understanding informational text features can help you to know more about a text. Let’s repeat the three types of text features that we looked at in this text.

  • Text features table of contents: One text feature we learned about is the table of contents! The table of contents is always found at the beginning of a book. It has a list of chapters or topics in the book. If you look to the right, you can find what page it starts on in the book!

  • Text features heading: Another text feature we learned about is heading! The heading is a short phrase usually found above the rest of the text. It tells the reader what the following text is all about.

  • Text features caption: The last text feature we learned about is the caption! A caption is a short phrase or explanation that is above, under, beside, and, even sometimes on a picture.

At the end of this video on nonfiction text features there are interactive exercises, worksheets and more activities waiting!

Transcript What is a Text Feature?

: "Hey Pearl, what are you looking at?" : "Oh, just reading about narwahls (...) I wish I could meet one in real life!" : "If they existed that would be so cool!" : "What do you mean? Narwahls ARE real." : "Huh? No, they aren't!" : "Yes, they are! Here, I'll show you all about them!" Pearl is trying to convince Otis that Narwahls exist. She can use text features to give him key information and facts about these cool sea creatures. What are text features? Non-fiction texts have features, or parts, that show important information next to the words in the text. Remember, non-fiction texts are ones that tell you facts and information. There are lots of different kinds of text features! Today we will learn about three different types of text features... table of contents (...) headings (...) and captions! : "This is my favorite book about Narwhals, it has so much information!" : "Where do you want to start?" : "What's all this?" : "This is the table of contents, it's always at the beginning of a book!" : "It's a list of topics or chapters that are in the book (...) and if you look at the number next to the topic, you can find what page it starts in the book!" : "Wow, I never knew that!" : "Hm, okay, let's start with basic facts on page six." : "Woah, that's a lot of information!" : "It's the heading and basic facts." : "Heading? What do you mean?" : "Look here, this is the heading, one of the text features." : "It's a short phrase that's usually above the rest of the text." : "It tells us, readers, what the part below is about." : "It says ten basic facts about narwhals." : "And look, here are the ten facts!" : "What about that, under the picture?" : "I almost forgot!" : "That's the caption, it's a short explanation that sometimes appears with pictures." : "When you see it next to, above, below, or sometimes even ON a picture, it gives you details about the picture." : "Narwhals change color as they get older, oh, cool!" : "That's one of my favorite facts." : "Pearl, can we read more about narwhals?" : "Sure! Let's take a look at the table of contents again." : "That's where it tells us which pages different topics start, right?" : "It sure is, what do you want to look at next?" : "I wanna see 'a horn-like tooth' on page ten!" : "This is the heading, right?" : "A horn-like tooth' yep! That's the heading." : "So, this page is all about the horn?" : "That's right!" : "Otis, look at the picture!" : "Wow, that's a big horn, I mean, tooth!" : "Did you see the caption?" : "It says it can be up to nine feet long!" : "Wow, that's pretty big!" : "Well, what do you say, Otis? Are you convinced that narwhals exist now?" : [sigh like he's giving up] "Okay, I guess narwhals COULD BE real sea creatures." : "D-did you see that?" : "Narwahls ARE real."


What is a Text Feature? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video What is a Text Feature?.
  • Find the text features.


    Look at the pictures. Can you find the sentences that describe the photos?

    Remember: captions describe photos.

    Highlight these in green.

    Headings are found above the rest of the text and are usually in bold font.


    Captions describe photos. Headings are short phrases that tell you about the text below.

    • "Facts about polar bears" is a heading. Below it are three polar bear facts.
    • "Polar bears swim in super cold water!" is a caption. It is next to an image of icy cold water.
    • "Where do polar bears live?" is a heading. Below it is information about polar bear habitats. It is bigger than the rest of the text to show that it is a new section.
    • "Sharp claws help polar bears dig in the ice." is a caption. It is above the photo of a bear paw. It explains why polar bears have sharp claws.
  • Using the contents page.


    A habitat is where an animal likes to live in the wild.

    You can find the page number by following the dotted line to the right of the topic.


    To learn where narwals live, Otis should read the list of topics in the Table of Contents.

    The word "habitat" is another way to say where animals live in nature.

    The page number is always found next to the topic on a table of contents. Just move your finger along the dotted line.

    So, information about where narwahls live is on page 4!

  • What are text features?


    The table of contents tells you where you can find all the sections of the book.

    Captions are usually found near an image.


    Here's what you know about text features:

    The table of contents is a list of topics in the book with page numbers. It's always at the beginning of the book!

    The captions are always right next to, below, above, or on top of a picture. They tell you more about the picture.

    The headings sort the text into smaller parts. They come above the text and describe what comes next.

    The text features are the parts of the text that organize key information. Headings, captions and the table of contents are all examples of text features.

  • Use the text features to find out what Pearl's new book is about.


    Look at the text features for clues!

    Find and read the headings.

    Find and read the caption.

    These are all the text features. Read them and tell which animal they are about.


    Text features like headings and captions can tell you what the text is about.

    First, find the headings. They are highlighted in red. Next, find the captions. They are highlighted in green.

    • The heading "How to keep paws clean and tails wagging" tells you that we are talking about pets, not wild animals. The answer is not about wolves.
    • The heading "Care instructions" gives you another clue. It tells you how to take care of a pet, not how to teach them tricks! So we can eliminate How dogs learn tricks.
    • The picture shows a wagging tail. It looks like a dog. Read the caption to check. The caption says "A tail wag means you have a very happy pup!". We can eliminate Pet cats.
    • What did you learn from the text features? You learned that this book tells you How to take care of dogs.
  • Identify the text feature.


    Look at where each of the features are on the page. What is nearby? Can a picture or detail in the text give you a clue?

    Remember that headings are usually above the text. They tell you about the text below.


    The table of contents is found on the first page. It's a chart telling you the topics in the book and their page numbers.

    The heading is the text in bold that says "Ten Basic Facts About Narwhals". Below the heading are the ten basic facts!

    The caption is the text underneath the picture of the three narwhals. It explains why the three narwhals are different colors!

  • Using a Table of Contents.


    Read the table of contents.

    The list on the left tells you the chapters in the book. If you move your finger along the dotted line, you will find the page number for that topic.

    To find the recipe, find the topic about making jellybeans. Which page number is it on?

    Next, let's find the history of jellybeans.

    Read the topics in the table of contents again.

    Which topic will tell you about the FIRST jellybeans ever made?

    Move your finger along the dotted line to find the correct page number.


    The recipe will be in the chapter called "How to make a red jellybean". That's on page 5.

    Otis can learn about different types of jellybeans in the chapter called "Flavors and Colors". That's on page 9.

    The history of jellybeans is in the chapter called "The Invention of the Jellybean". This will tell him the story of how the FIRST jellybean was made. It's on page 12.

    Information about where jellybeans are made is on page 15. It's in the chapter called "Jellybean Factories".