The term “text structure” refers to how information is organized in a passage. The structure of a text can change multiple times in a work and even within a paragraph. Students are often required to identify text structures on state reading tests; therefore, it is important that they are given exposure to the various patterns of organization. This page will briefly explain seven commonly used patterns of organization, provide examples, and then offer users free text structure worksheets and interactive online practice activities to help students learn this essential reading skill.
Cause and Effect:The results of something are explained.
Example: The dodo bird used to roam in large flocks across America. Interestingly, the dodo wasn’t startled by gun shot. Because of this, frontiersmen would kill entire flocks in one sitting. Unable to sustain these attacks, the dodo was hunted to extinction.
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Chronological: information in the passage is organized in order of time.
Example: Jack and Jill ran up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.
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Compare and Contrast: two or more things are described. Their similarities and differences are discussed.
Example: Linux and Windows are both operating systems. Computers use them to run programs. Linux is totally free and open source, so users can improve or otherwise modify the source code. Windows is proprietary, so it costs money to use and users are prohibited from altering the source code.
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Order of Importance: information is expressed as a hierarchy or in priority.
Example: Here are the three worst things that you can do on a date. First, you could tell jokes that aren’t funny and laugh really hard to yourself. This will make you look bad. Worse though, you could offend your date. One bad “joke” may cause your date to lash out at you, hence ruining the engagement. But the worst thing that you can do is to appear slovenly. By not showering and properly grooming, you may repulse your date, and this is the worst thing that you can do.
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Problem and Solution: a problem is described and a response or solution is proposed or explained.
Example: thousand of people die each year in car accidents involving drugs or alcohol. Lives could be saved if our town adopts a free public taxi service. By providing such a service, we could prevent intoxicated drivers from endangering themselves or others.
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Sequence / Process Writing: information is organized in steps or a process is explained in the order in which it occurs.
Example: Eating cereal is easy. First, get out your materials. Next, pour your cereal in the bowl, add milk, and enjoy.
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Spatial / Descriptive Writing: information is organized in order of space (top to bottom, left to right).
Example: when you walk into my bedroom there is a window facing you. To the right of that is a dresser and television and on the other side of the window is my bed.
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Identifying Text Structure 1: Read the passages. Identify the text structure. Write information from the passage into the appropriate graphic organizer. Graphic organizers are available at the top of the page.
Identifying Text Structure Worksheet RTF
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ereading worksheets – (ten online practice problems)
Identifying Text Structure 2: Read the passages and put the information from each passage into an appropriate graphic organizer.
Identifying Text Structure 2 RTF
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ereading worksheet – (ten more online text structure problems)
Identifying Text Structure 3 - read the following passages and determine the text structure. Then, put information from the text into the appropriate graphic organizer. Remember to focus on the main idea of each paragraph.
Identifying Text Structure 3 RTF
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ereading worksheet – Text Structure Practice 3
Identifying Text Structure 4 - read each passage and determine the text structure. Then, put information from the text into the appropriate graphic organizer. Remember to focus on the main idea of each paragraph.
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Identifying Text Structure 5 - In this single-sided worksheet, students read the five passages and draw graphic organizers on a separate sheet of paper. I hope that your students enjoy these five tornado themed passages.
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Text Structure Worksheet 6 - Another single-sided worksheet where students read five passages and determine the pattern of organization. Students write information from the passages into the appropriate graphic organizer on the backside or a separate sheet of paper.
Text Structure Worksheet 6 RTF
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Text Structure 7 | The Revolutionary War Worksheet – Students will read five nonfiction passages about the American War for Independence. Students will determine the structure of each passage and create visual representation of the text. They will include information from the passages on their graphic organizers.
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Main Idea and Text Structure – Six nonfiction passages where students identify the main idea, represent the text structure, and come up with an appropriate title.
Main Idea and Text Structure RTF
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Main Idea and Text Structure 2 – Six more nonfiction passages where students identify and represent main ideas and text structure. This time the worksheet is themed around robots.
Main Idea and Text Structure 2 RTF
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Main Idea and Text Structure 3 – Another single-sided worksheet with six nonfiction passages. Students determine the main idea and text structure of each passage and then come up with an appropriate title. This worksheet has an amnesia theme: each passage is related to amnesia.
Main Idea and Text Structure 3 RTF
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Valentine’s Day Main Idea and Text Structure Review Worksheet – Your students will LOVE working through these six passages, expressing the main idea of each, titling them, and visually representing the text using graphic organizers.
Main Idea and Text Structure Review Valentine’s Day Worksheet RTF
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Text Structure Lesson: PowerPoint slide show about text structure including cause and effect, sequence, chronological, problem and solution, and compare and contrast with a ten question practice activity.
Text Structure Lesson PowerPoint
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Create a Text Structure Booklet - Create a booklet where each page includes a definition of the pattern of organization and an original example. If you decide to work with a partner, each definition must also include a picture.
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Text Structure Quiz – This quiz contains nine passages, each of which is about ice-cream, and six questions where students match definitions to terms. Each form contains the same questions, answers, and distractors. I just shuffled the order of the questions.
Text Structure Quiz Form A RTF
Text Structure Quiz Form B RTF
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Text Structure Quiz Form B RTF
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Common Core State Standards Related to Text Structure
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5 - Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
ELA Standards: Informational Texts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5 - Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.5 - Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.5 - Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.5 - Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.5 - Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5 - Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.