Brain Hive in the Classroom: Informational Text Features

Cross-curricular literacy initiatives place a great deal of emphasis on students being exposed to a wide variety of texts, regardless of the subject area they are studying. This is an exciting trend, in that it forefronts the notion that reading is a skill that helps students be successful in many endeavors outside the Language Arts or English classroom. And of course, as students are exposed to more informational content, it is imperative that they approach subject-area, technical, and other forms of “functional” text with a different set of reading strategies than those they use to comprehend narrative and literary text. Understanding the purpose and function of common informational text features like indexes, glossaries, graphs, sidebars, and tables is one of these strategies students must learn as they work to build content-area literacy.

Brain Hive boasts a large collection of informational, standards-aligned eBooks that will fit beautifully into your lesson planning as you work with students to practice reading and decoding informational texts. Here are just a couple of ideas for taking advantage of Brain Hive’s informational eBook collection in your content-area literacy instruction:

  • For the younger grades, why not try an informational text feature scavenger hunt, using Brain Hive eBooks? Using mobile devices or traditional computers, ask students to find common informational text features like section headers, information sidebars, graphs, diagrams, glossaries, or indexes they find in Brain Hive eBooks. When students find these features, ask them to take a screenshot of them and provide a short explanation of each to demonstrate their understanding.hailstorm glossary
  • For intermediate grades, design a simple game that tests students’ ability to interpret and use a book’s index. Choose a relevant informational eBook title on Brain Hive, and open it to the index, displaying it for the class on an interactive white board. Taking turns, give students keywords, and ask them to use the book’s index to find where that subject is mentioned in the book. Using the Brain Hive eReader navigation tools, students can then go to the page where the subject appears, displaying their results for the class.index game
  • In the older grades, how about asking students (in groups or individually) to present “virtual tours” of informational Brain Hive eBooks? Using an interactive whiteboard, students can practice their presentation and public speaking skills while demonstrating their understanding of informational, content-area text features. Choose an eBook (or series of eBooks) that fits in with your curricular focus and ask students to interpret the use and meaning of different text features they encounter in the texts. For example, one student could explain not only what this diagram of plate tectonics means, but why the author chose to include this diagram in her book.Plate tectonics1

Got any other ideas for teaching students how to tackle content-specific informational text using Brain Hive eBooks? We’d love to hear them! Keep in touch with us at or by phone at 855-554-4483.

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