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Are there special characteristics of nonfiction books?

While not all nonfiction text is arranged in the same way, there do happen to be many common characteristics that some nonfiction titles share. For example, a table of contents, headings in bold, captions identifying pictures, diagrams, graphs, or charts, a glossary, and index might be present.

Table of Contents
The table of contents is found within the first few pages of the book, and it tells the order by page number in which information is found within the book.

The headings guide the reader through the book by  specifying the certain sections that are being read. The headings are usually in bold or in a different color guiding the reader as to what section they are in.  Captions
Captions are found above, underneath, or beside a picture or graphic image. The caption gives information about what is visually being presented.

Diagrams, Charts, or Graphs
When an image is found in nonfiction that explains information in more detail, it is most likely a diagram, chart, graph, or map.  This visual image may actually be read and therefore adds informational content to the nonfiction book.

Sometimes the words in a nonfiction book might be new or unknown to the reader.  The glossary is found in the back of a nonfiction book offering a definition for difficult words found throughout the text.

The index is the very last thing found in a nonfiction book. Ordered by subject, it details which page information within the book may be found. It is different from the table of contents as it is organized in alphabetical order.  If a reader knows exactly which information they are looking for, the index provides a great first point of looking.


1 Mr. Zupke's 5th Grade Class { 10.10.12 at 12:47 am }

Very helpful definitions on the parts of a nonfiction book


2 gee gee { 10.12.12 at 5:49 am }

you should list others like bold print,and maps,


3 Jennifer { 10.07.13 at 9:48 am }

Very informative and helpful. Thank you!


4 clinton { 04.28.14 at 6:05 pm }

very helpful.keep us updated


5 Mr. J - 2nd Grade Class { 10.29.15 at 6:23 am }

Very helpful


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