What are the Elements of a Book?

Sara MartinezBooks, Volunteers

A key literacy skill students learn is the different elements of a book. Familiarity with these elements can help students on their journey toward becoming lifelong readers. We invite you to join Program Coordinator Sara Martinez in this brief video, where she will walk you through the steps toward identifying elements of a book. Firstly: how to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction books. Secondly: how to identify elements of a book. And finally, how to use these skills to check comprehension and form connections

Two Types of Books

There are two types of books: fiction and nonfiction. Fiction books are written from the authors imagination and contain invented characters and events. Fiction books are usually novels, novellas, or short stories. On the other hand, Nonfiction books contain facts about real life events, people, or ideas. For example, encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides and manuals, or travel books.

Elements of a Fiction Book
  • Follows a plot (beginning, middle, end)
  • Narrative elements
    • Characters: who the story is about (main and secondary)
    • Setting: where the story takes place
    • Plot: what happens (beginning, middle, and end)
  • Usually a theme or moral the reader will learn
  • Read for fun!
Elements of a Nonfiction Book
  • Text features
    • Table of contents: in the beginning of the book
    • Glossary: in the back of the book/includes vocabulary words and definitions
    • Index: an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc.
    • Pictures: photos or illustrations
    • Diagrams: a schematic representation of a topic or system
  • Factual
  • Read in any order
  • Read to learn new information

During shared reading time, try asking your student questions about the elements of the book you are reading to for check comprehension and make connections. Be sure to check out more volunteer training posts to make the most out of the time with your student. Finally, please follow @witschicago on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more WITS Tips!