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 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 2. Use text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

Clarification

To show proficiency of the skills included with this indicator, a reader will demonstrate knowledge of the text features of a literary text which are the elements by which a literary text is organized. Identification of each feature and its relationship to all other features assists a reader in comprehension of an entire text. As complexity of a text increases, a reader advances from identification to explanation and analysis of the features. Considering how all these features work together helps a reader to understand and evaluate a text.

To identify, explain, and analyze how organizational aids contribute to meaning of a literary text, a reader must first locate the title of the literary text and consider any information that a title might give about the content of a text. That information can help a reader predict the focus of the selection. After reading a whole text, a reader can return to the title to determine its role in the meaning of the text. For example, a title might relay or enhance information about any narrative element: character, setting, story events or theme.

In addition, a reader can locate and consider the chapter titles. They can define in smaller segments the character development or story events within that section. Subtitles or subheadings break the narrative elements into even smaller sections.

Graphic text features include pictures, illustrations, punctuation, and print features. Organizational text features include the title of the work, chapter titles, subtitles, and subheadings. Informational aids include footnoted words and passages, biographical information about the author, introductions, and photographs. These features assist a reader when constructing meaning of an entire text by providing an informal outline. A critical reader uses these aids to enhance understanding of an entire text by judging their relevance to the work.

To identify and explain how graphic aids contribute to meaning, a reader must locate these text features within a text. Pictures and illustrations extend a reader's comprehension by providing a visual that enhances a reader's understanding of a text. Punctuation can be a clue to tone, mood, or author's style. Print features such as font type or font color serve as signals that changes are occurring, conversation or interior monologue is beginning, or simply that this text is important.

To identify and explain how informational aids contribute to meaning, a reader needs to focus on the location of these features within a literary text. Each of these informational aids provides scaffolding for a reader to fully comprehend a literary passage:

  • Footnoted words and phrases offer a reader more detailed information about terminology.
  • Captions for pictures and illustrations emphasize information stated in the text or provide additional information that is not always contained within the body of a text.
  • Biographical information about the author gives interesting or relevant details about the author's life and can, at times, offer reasons for the author's purpose in writing about a particular subject or event.
  • Introductions to literary pieces help a reader make predictions about content or create a basis for fully understanding a text.
  • Photographs of people and places aid a reader in visualizing as he/she reads.
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