Non-Fiction File Folder Project

Today I'm linking up with Hope from Second Grade Shenanigans for Take Me Back Tuesday!  Now, you may be thinking, "She just started her blog what can she be taking me back too?"  Well, it's true that I just started my first blog dedicated entirely to teaching, but about a year ago while I was staying at home with my new baby boy, I started a blog where I post about all kinds of things including teaching, crafting, baking, cooking and reviews and giveaways.  So, this post goes along with my previous post all about non-fiction.


So, I been missing teaching lately and thought I'd get back to my teaching roots and share one of the ideas I liked to use in my 3rd grade classroom.

One of my favorite units to teach for Reading is all about non-fiction.  When I was in elementary school I never remember being explicitly taught how to read non-fiction.  I don’t know why.  Reading non-fiction text is sooo different than reading fiction and some kids can really benefit from learning how to do it. 

Part of the unit included teaching all of the text features of non-fiction.  I would teach one or two a day during my mini lesson.  During these mini lessons I always included showing 3-5 examples in different types of non-fiction texts (books, magazines, newspaper, online, etc.) and going over what the feature was and its purpose in the text.  We would talk about the purpose in general and then the purpose of the feature specific to the text.  Along with this, I would add the feature to our text features chart and my students would add it to a section in their Reading/Thinking Journal.  In the end, they ended up creating a kind of reference guide to all the non-fiction text features we discussed in class. 

I usually included these text features in the unit (in no particular order): photos & captions, glossary, index, titles, headings & subheadings, table of contents, bold print, maps, charts & graphs, diagrams, and text/fact box.

 At the end of our non-fiction study I had my students complete a File Folder Non-Fiction Text Features Project, which is what I’m sharing with you today.  I saw this idea here and tweaked it to fit my 3rd grade students.

First, I gave everyone a file folder that was divided into 8 sections, a instructions sheet, and a non-fiction book.  Everyone got a different book.  The Scholastic Vocabulary Readers are great for this since they all include several text features.  The Vocab Readers are usually level J/K, so for my more advanced readers I did choose more difficult books, although my focus wasn’t on the reading level for this project.  The great thing about this is that you can really differentiate it based on each student (different books, vary the amount of text features, etc.)  I modeled exactly what I expected from the kids first and then gave them all about a week to complete it at home.  Obviously, you could also make this an in school project or even a partners projects.

I had the students tell me the purpose of the text feature along with what it was and an example from their book.  You can download a copy of the directions I used here.

Hope you can use this in your classroom!


  1. These are so cute!! I'm hoping to adapt them for my first graders - we have been working on non-fiction text features, and I love that you used these to teach the kids HOW to read nonfiction text. Brilliant! So happy to have found your blog :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. Love this idea for my enrichment group. Thanks for throwing this back out there for us!

    Renee at the Science School Yard


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