Assessment Alley: Third Grade Literacy Profile

Concepts of Print, Letter Identification, and Text Features

Literacy Profile
What Third Graders Should Know
Phonological Awareness and Oral Language Development
Concepts of Print, Letter Identification, and Text Features
Decoding Skills and Word Analysis
Reading Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Reading Accuracy and Fluency at Increasing Text Levels
Comprehension and Reading Response
Writing Strategies, Processes, and Dispositions
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Conventions and Handwriting
Related Resources
Meet the Author


Concepts of print, letter identification, and text features include book-handling skills, awareness of words and sentences, knowledge of print conventions, naming letters, and differentiating narrative and informational text and their features.  By third grade, focus typically moves to text features as most students have mastered concepts of print and letter identification.

At third grade, these skills include:

         identifying text features (glossary, index, tables, diagrams, boldface, etc.)

         attends to sophisticated punctuation (quotation marks, colons, parentheses)


Text Features Scavenger Hunt

While there are formal assessment materials available for assessing concepts of print, many teachers prefer to informally collect data regularly through classroom activities and observations.  One activity that can also provide valuable data about students' awareness of text features is a Text Feature Scavenger Hunt.


Teachers design a scavenger hunt for text features as identified in their state standards or school curriculum guides.  Then, teachers provide students with a variety of informational texts to complete the scavenger hunt.  This can be administered orally (to the entire class or small groups) or given in worksheet format.  In worksheet form, students list the source and page number where they located the text feature and also write its purpose.


Teachers can evaluate each student's scavenger hunt to assess their ability not only to locate the given text features but also to identify the features' purposes.  Results can be used to form whole-class minilessons, guided reading groups, or one-on-one interventions.


View my Text Feature Scavenger Hunt here.


Although many children develop concepts about print through natural exposure, whole-class discussions, and small-group teaching sessions, some may need more explicit instruction in individualized or small-group settings (Biggam 55).  While interactive read-alouds, guided reading groups, and daily classroom activities awareness of text features for most students, targeted interventions will be needed for others who perform poorly on tasks such as the Text Features Scavenger Hunt.

Text Features Flash Cards

For students who cannot identify common text features (glossary, title page, index, etc.), flash cards can be helpful interventions.  With teacher support, the student creates three to five flash cards with titles of the text features.  Then, the student turns all cards face-down.  As the student selects a card, he reads the name of the feature, states what it looks like in a book, defines its purpose, and uses provided informational texts to identify the feature in print.  They also discuss the usefulness of the feature as they explore the books together.  As the student begins to master these text features, the flash cards can be expanded to include new text features.


Modified text feature flash cards can also be used for games.  With teacher support, the student creates another set of flash cards with the definition of each text feature.  When shuffled with the initial set of flash cards (which include only the names of text features), the student can play "Memory" or "Go Fish" with the teacher or another student.


For "Memory" the student turns all cards face-down.  Taking turns, each player turns over two cards at a time. If the cards match, the student keeps the set, earns one point, and gets to take another turn.  If the cards do not match, the second player gets a turn.  Play continues until all cards have been matched.  The winner has the most pairs at the end of the game.  For an additional bonus, students may play with informational texts and identify the features inside.


For "Go Fish" the students shuffle the deck. Each student gets three cards and the rest become the draw pile. The first player asks the second player for a specific card.  If the second player has a card, he gives it to the first player, who makes a match and earns one part.  If the second player does not have the card, he tells the first player to "Go Fish" and draw a card from the draw pile. The first player to run out of cards wins. 

Last updated: April 16, 2009