School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

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

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

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

Objective d. Use organizational aids when reading

  • Title
  • Table of contents
  • Numbered steps
  • Glossary
  • Headings
  • Transition words


The teacher will model how to preview informational text using chapter titles and headings. Children will learn how to use these text features to determine the topics that will be covered in the text. The teacher will model by using a science or social studies trade book or textbook, student weekly news article, or other informational texts that prominently feature titles and headings. The teacher will explain that titles, chapter titles, and headings go from the broadest to the narrowest topics that will be covered in the text. The teacher may use an inverted triangle to provide a concrete representation of the order of these text features. Inside of the top of the inverted triangle the teacher will write the title, chapter title, and headings in descending order. As the order descends, more detailed information about the broad topic (title) is provided.

The teacher will progress to demonstrating how to use the features to preview text. Titles, chapter titles, and headings tell the reader the topics that will be covered in the text that follows. The teacher can demonstrate this by showing enlarged text to the children and locating the title, chapter title or heading. The teacher will then draw attention to the text that follows the selected text feature and point out text details that directly relate to it. By using a web organizer with the topic (heading, etc.) in the center and the related text linked to the spokes, the teacher can readily provide a visual to enhance student comprehension.


The teacher should model the use of text features (titles, chapter titles, headings) as a structure for learning how to take simple notes using the organizer below:

Text Feature What it Says Important Details
Title Mammals The topic of this book is mammals.
Chapter title Mammals as pets Cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits
Heading Cats -may be the most popular pet in the world
-typically weigh between 5.5–16 pounds

Students can continue to add notes to the organizer as the teacher guides pairs and then individuals to subsequent sections of the text. Students can review the notes page to summarize the entire text.


The teacher will select a grade appropriate informational text that has a table of contents. The teacher will direct the students’ attention to an enlarged copy of the table of contents (big book, transparency, or digital source). The teacher will explain that many times a reader of informational text may not want to read everything a book says about a topic but instead may want to answer only specific questions related to it. An author includes a table of contents in a book to help the reader locate the part of the book that may answer the question the reader has in his or her mind. It tells the chapter titles and the page that the chapter begins on. Therefore, a reader can choose which parts of the book may answer their question and read only that section of the text. The teacher should direct the students’ attention to the enlarged copy of the table of contents and pose questions to the students such as: “If a reader wanted to know why _____________ which chapter would have that information? What page does that chapter start on?” The teacher will then turn in the text to the designated page and model how they would either read or skim (depending on skill level of students) to find the answer to their question. The teacher will repeat with another question, having students use the table of contents to identify the appropriate chapter to locate the answer to the question. The teacher could then identify a topic and have student pairs generate at least 2 questions that they might want answered. The teacher will distribute book about a specific topic to each pair and direct the students to use the table of contents to identify the chapter titles and page numbers that may contain the answers to their questions. Have the students read or skim to see if the answers to their questions are included in the text. Explain to the students that not every text is going to have every answer and that is why we need to use informational aids to help make our work as readers more efficient. Have students problem solve what they could do if the information that they are seeking is not included in their book.