WITS Tips: What are the elements of a book?

by Sara Martinez, Program Coordinator

A key literacy skill students learn are the different elements of a book. Mastering these elements can help them in their journey of becoming life-long readers. It is important to know the difference between fiction and nonfiction before discussing these elements.

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. Nonfiction books contain facts about real life events, people, or ideas. Some examples of nonfiction books are encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides and manuals, or travel books.

Elements of a fiction book

  • Follows a plot (beginning, middle, end)
  • Narrative elements
    • Characters
    • Setting
    • Plot
  • Usually a theme or moral the reader will learn
  • Read for fun!

Elements of a nonfiction book

  • Text features
    • Table of contents
    • Glossary
    • Index
    • Pictures
    • Diagrams
  • Factual
  • Read in any order
  • Read to learn new information