Posted by: nancyisanders | December 5, 2014

Writing Opportunity: Table of Contents

As many of you know, we’ve been working on writing and submitting a nonfiction picture book to Kaeden Books. (If some of you are new to following my blog, you can CLICK HERE to start with the very first post I made about this adventure and get caught up.)

If you’ve not yet finished writing the text and the sidebars for your story, go ahead and get that finished up.

Today let’s talk about adding in the Table of Contents.

Some of you may be wondering why books such as The Bird Feeder have a Table of Contents. I mean, this is a short short book. Not very much text. That’s probably how your manuscript is, too.

It’s because of the Common Core State Standards. For example, if you look at the standards in second grade RI.2.5, you’ll see that this standard states:

Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

So simply by adding in a Table of Contents to your manuscript/book, it now supports the Common Core.

So go ahead and add a Table of Contents to your manuscript. If you have questions how to do that, look at your mentor text (The published book on Kaeden Books that is similar to the one you’re writing.)

First you’ll need to add page numbers to your own manuscript and then plug those page numbers into your Table of Contents. The main thing is to make sure your pages will be in the right layout for when the book is actually published.

Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for informing me about adding a Table of Contents in order to comply with Common Core. Would this be a good idea to include for fiction as well?

    • Hi Tracy, great question. A Table of Contents doesn’t hurt. Even though it won’t support the standards for reading nonfiction (Reading Informative text or RI), it helps bring elements of those standards into the world of RL or Reading Literature. Check out this link to the second grade standards for RL or Reading Literature (otherwise known as fiction) and see which standards teachers will be teaching kids in second grade. However, I haven’t read all the standards for RL at all the grade levels. You can browse through them and see what they say for the grade level you’re writing for. I’ll also keep an eye out for this, too.

  2. Thank you, Nancy. You are a fountain of information. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much, Nancy, for all you have shared about submitting these manuscripts! I am working on my first one and I appreciate all the work you have done here. I have a question–do you actually space out your manuscript on 16 pages (if that’s the length of your book) and then print and submit all 16 pages?

    • Hi Vicki! So glad you’re working on your manuscript! And no, I don’t actually space out my manuscript on 16 pages. That is called a “mock-up” or a “dummy.” Instead, I just type it out in continuous flow on the page. See these two blog posts for reference. If you can’t quite figure it out from these posts, then let me know and I’ll show you a better sample. Check out these links:

      First post

      Second post

      • Thank you so much, that second post answers my question. I couldn’t see how to figure out page numbers for the table of contents, but now I get it.

      • I’m glad that helped!

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