Using the Table of Contents

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Language Arts, Reading, Reading Comprehension

Grade 1- 3


The student will use a table of contents to find information in a book.



  1. Distribute copies of the page, Table of Contents. Explain that books have a page that helps us find what we are looking for in a book. Write Table of Contents across the chalkboard. Have a book available for each student to refer to at this time.
  2. Have students look inside their books to find the table of contents. Have them keep their fingers in their books to mark the place until all students find the table of contents. Explain that a table of contents lists all the subjects in the book and the pages on which they can be found. Most books that share information have a table of contents.
  3. Ask students to locate topics in their books. What are some of these topics? On what pages can these topics be found? Have students practice choosing a topic, seeing the page on which it is found, and locating the page in the book. It can be very difficult for some students to find the pages. Be available for assistance and be sure that the books your students are using are not too long or too difficult.
  4. Go over the four questions found on the Table of Contents page. Check to be sure that students understand the questions and allow students time to complete the work sheet. Circulate around the room to offer assistance, as needed.
  5. Schedule a time, if necessary, for your students to use the library for researching purposes. Remind students of proper library behavior and procedures before you go.
  6. Assist students in locating books, encyclopedias, and other materials to research their animals. Have students look for books that have information about their animals. Next, have students look in the table of contents of each book to determine whether there is information in the book on their research animals. Allow students time to practice using the table of contents. Students may check out books they find that have information about their research animal. Schedule more time in the library for students to research, as needed.
  • Check to see that students have completed the Table of Contents page correctly.
  • Check off the appropriate research strategy skill (4B) on the Teacher Checklist on page 24 of the Assessment Section. Assess student work using the Research Assessment Rubric on page 52.


  • an age-appropriate book that has a table of contents for each student
  • access to a library with reference books and other books used for research
  • copy of the Table of Contents work sheet (see the link to the activity sheets below) for each student

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