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Cool Tools for Finding Information (Grade 3-4)

Main Core Tie

Elementary Library Media (K-5)
Strand 6 Standard 2

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Grade 4
Reading: Informational Text Standard 9

English Language Arts Grade 5
Reading: Informational Text Standard 7

Time Frame

1 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups

Life Skills

Thinking & Reasoning


Jared Crossley
Shannon Johns
Jenifer Palomarez
Lisa Pockrus
Jodi Raphael


This lesson will help students identify text structures in various informational sources. They will learn that text structures are Cool Tools to help them find information in both print and online sources.


Background for Teachers

Basic understanding of text features and familiarity with Utah's Online Library. Familiarity with technology tools, projector, document camera, etc.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should have some basic understanding of text features and non-fiction text.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to identify different text structures and be able to explain when to use them to find information.

Students will be able to compare different types of information sources and use the text structures in each of them.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Students will take the pre-test. Following the pre-test, review the text features with examples from various fiction and non-fiction books.
  2. Discuss why non-fiction text uses text features. Use examples to have students find information from a source with text features and a source without text features. This may be projected on the board from a document camera or included in a power point, etc. Have students discuss whether it is easier and faster to find information with text features or without. Why?
  3. Show examples and discuss the strengths of each of the following text structures, aka. Cool Tools: table of contents, index, glossary, bold print, headings, subheadings, guide words, keywords, sidebar, captions.
  4. Explain that a reference source can include non-fiction books, encyclopedias, magazines, dictionaries, reference books, as well as online sources. Discuss how these cool tools can be found in all reference sources. Show examples of print reference sources.
  5. Tell students that they are now going to explore an online reference source to look for these cool tools. Access Utah's Online Library (explain what it is if necessary - make sure students know that this is an amazing resource) either individually on devices or teacher led on the projector. Go to Gale Kid's Info Bits, model how to choose a topic and find an article. Then have students point out the different text structures they see. If students have devices have them select a topic that interests them and do the same.
  6. Have students discuss how these text structures helped them find information and better understand the article.
  7. Have students compare the text structures they found in books with those they found online. 8. Show students an example of a non-fiction book with the same topic from Gale Kid's Info Bits. Have students discuss which would be better when researching this topic. (The correct answer is use both - multiple sources are best).

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Have students work in pairs and help each other identify text structures in various texts. Reteach if needed.

Assessment Plan


Give students the pre-test at the beginning and then revisit the questions as a group at the end. Informally assess that students are able to identify text structures.

Created: 05/12/2017
Updated: 02/05/2018