We spent an entire period walking through each of the pictures, captions, graphics, etc. - discussing how each graphic provided key information that would help in an eventual reading of the text itself. The content was so interesting and varied that this lesson was awesome (if I do say so myself) - it was eyeopening to them that these conventions could actually contain important information they would need as they began reading the text.This was Franki Sibberson's point in The Joy of Planning which I had previously written about.
For extra credit, I asked my kids to go to the online version of this article and check out at least five nonfiction conventions (videos, interactive maps) they investigated there, note them, and note what they learned from them. My thinking is that this sort of article will be what our textbooks will soon look like - and that our kids need to learn to pause, study the graphics and note take from these as well.
I've promised any student a treat from the candy jar if they are able to find copies of this article lying around their homes...this is one resource I know I will be using next year as well.
For older students, the Times has also used this article in a Reading Club activity - something else to check out.