School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 4

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

Indicator 2. Identify and use text features to facilitate understanding of informational texts


To show proficiency of the skills stated in this indicator, a reader will be able to identify, use, and analyze text features. These text features are purposeful and send visual signals to the reader about the nature and use of the content. As the complexity of texts increases, these features lead readers first to make predictions about the text and later to draw conclusions from the text.

In order to gain full comprehension of a text, a reader should use print features and analyze text features. A reader should take note of the use of bold or italic type, font type and size, colored type, underlining, and quotation marks, which allow insight into the relative importance and organization of a text. These varied uses of print features focus a reader's attention on specific aspects of text and help a reader gauge the importance of ideas and their relationship to each other.

Effective use and analysis of graphic aids is necessary to comprehend informational text. When using graphic aids, a reader should be able to identify the information the aid provides and determine a purpose for its use. Photographs and illustrations with or without captions deliver a quick insight into the content of a text. Cartoons relay an author's attitude and can, with minimum text, serve as a persuasive device. Maps, graphs, diagrams, and tables deliver much information from minimal text. Combining the information a graphic provides with effective use of print features enhances a reader's comprehension of a total text. This, in turn, allows a reader to draw conclusions about the importance of the information.

Using and analyzing informational aids is a vital component in text comprehension. A preview of text helps a reader prepare for accessing information. Timelines, glossed words (words defined within the text), bulleted lists, and pronunciation keys throughout the text assist a reader in securing specialized information that will increase comprehension. Recognition of transitional words helps a reader follow a sequence of events or development of an idea, argument, or persuasion. Footnotes and works cited establish a source from which a student can judge the reliability of a text. Analyzing informational aids in combination with print and graphic aids supports the comprehension of a text.

When a reader uses and analyzes the organizational aids in a text, he or she focuses on a general outline of information that contributes to meaning. Tables of contents set the order in which information is presented while titles, subtitles, headings, and subheadings within a chapter or section establish a sequence or degree of importance of that information. These aids along with other standard features such as glossaries and indices help a reader develop understanding of a text.

To use and analyze online information, a reader needs to use and analyze online features effectively. Once a reader knows the location and use of the URL, he or she can access additional sources of information through hypertext links or drop down menus. Knowing how these features work allows a reader to maneuver through a website to read with purpose and gather information.

Uniform Resource Locator is the address of the website.
Home Page
This page is the first one in a website.
Hypertext Links
Highlighted or underlined text will take a user to another website which has related information. A link to another website is indicated when the cursor moves over highlighted or underlined text and the cursor changes to a hand with a pointed finger. Left clicking the cursor allows a user to access that website.
Drop Down Menu
These menus and lists are signaled by inverted pyramids. When the inverted pyramid is clicked on, a series of other sources appears.
Information, such as site maps, lists, or explanations of the site, are set off in boxed text.

Locating the sponsor of a website combined with focused reading helps a reader judge the reliability of a source. Using certain elements of print, graphic, and organizational aids, a reader can make judgments about online text and construct meaning from it.

As readers have more experiences with these skills and with increasingly complex texts, their cognitive abilities will also increase. Experienced readers will be able to identify, explain, and analyze how all text features can support the main idea of a text. Readers will understand how these features contribute to and complement each other to help a reader construct meaning of an entire text.