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LGA 3103

Characteristics/features of Nonfiction Books

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different strategies


important information

Labels help the reader identify a picture or a photograph and its parts.

Photographs and Captions

Photographs help the readers understand exactly what something looks like.
Captions help the readers understand better about the picture or photograph.


Caption Photograph




Comparisons help the reader understand the size of one thing by comparing it to the size of something.


Cutaways help the reader understand something by looking at it from the inside.


Maps help the reader understand where things are in the world.

This map shows the location of the Titanic when she sent out a distress call.

Types of Print
Types of print help the reader by signaling, Look at me! Im important!
Bold font for headings


Other Types of Print

There are numerous ways an author can use fonts and effects to draw a readers attention to something important. The writer may use titles, headings, boldface print, color print, italics, bullets, captions, and labels. These all signal importance in text. Think of them as red flags.

Close-ups help the reader see details in something small.



Close-up of a root tip


Table of Contents
Table of Contents help the reader find key topics in the book in the order that they come.

Index is an alphabetical list of almost everything written in the text, with page numbers so you can find the information.

Glossary helps the reader understand key words that are in the text.

Table helps the reader understand important information by listing it in a table or a chart form.

Cue Words and Phrases

Nonfiction writing often includes text clues that signal importance. Signal words, like stop signs, warn readers to halt and pay attention. Writers choose phrases such as for example, for instance, in fact, in conclusion, most important, but, therefore, on the other hand, and such as so that readers take note.

The next time you pick-up a newspaper, read an article on the internet, or flip through your favorite magazine, look for all of the characteristics of nonfiction text. I think you will be surprised how many you will find in just one book or article!