Reading comprehension

Finding information in non-fiction texts

Explainer Video

Tutor: Kat


Finding information in non-fiction texts

​​In a nutshell

Non-fiction texts are made up of facts about a real event or true story, rather than something that is imaginary or does not exist in the real world. They are often used to present important information about a particular topic that you may not have known before, teaching you something new. In this summary, you will learn how and where to identify these pieces of information in a non-fiction text. 

Table of contents

The most important task when searching for information in a non-fiction text is to identify the parts of the text that can teach you new facts. This means picking out words, pages or even chapters in a text that might contain useful details to help you better understand what the text is about. 

An easy way to do this quickly is by using the table of contents. Found at the beginning of the book, this page is a list of all the different chapters and subchapters and can tell you what they are about and which pages they can be found on. 

Often when chapters contain lots of different parts, the contents page will list these parts as headings or subheadings, helping you  see the different topics within each chapter. 


But if you were looking for a particular word or phrase, you might turn to an index - a long alphabetical list of key words and names that is normally found at the back of the book. The index will tell you the exact page or pages that particular word can be found on. 


For words that you might not know the meaning of, the glossary is particularly handy. Usually found by the index at the back of the book, the glossary is a list of important or complicated words and their definitions that are there to help you understand what they mean. Like the index, glossaries are typically in alphabetical order. 


A geography textbook contains the word 'glacier', which you may not have seen before. Without having to read the whole chapter to understand its meaning, you can use the glossary - which contains information about complicated or specific words that are often found in a non-fiction text.

Trace down the list of words to find the letter 'g' - for glacier - next to which its definition, 'a slowly moving mass of river or ice', would be written. 

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a non-fiction text?

What are non-fiction texts for?

What is a glossary?


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