Supplemental Strategy: Textbook Feature Analysis

(before reading)

Every text has a structure. Mathematics and science textbooks have typical structures that recur from lesson to lesson. There are headings and sub-headings. In math, for example, the lesson might start with a problem to engage students. There’s usually some explanation of the content, and examples. New vocabulary is often written bold. There are drawings and other visual representations. There are problems to try, sometimes embedded in the text. And there are often separate text boxes that contain special interest information, connections to previous material, etc.

Students can navigate a text passage better when they know its structure. Take time to explain the structure of your text to students. Show them what’s important, and what they can ignore. Explain to them how you read a lesson, what you pay lots of attention to, what you save for later. For example, if you look first at the examples, and try to make connections to what you know already, teach them that strategy.
Remember that you are the best reader in the class, and they need your guidance to understand how good readers process text.

See an example in Daniels and Zemelman, pp. 150-151 (ACCESS: Textbook Feature Analysis)