Text Structure

Text Structure

The term “text structure” refers to how information is organized in a passage.  The structure of a text can change many times in a work and even within a paragraph. Students are often asked to identify text structures or patterns of organization on state reading tests. Also, understanding text structures can help students make and interpret arguments. For these reasons it is important that students are exposed 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.
Learn More About Cause and Effect

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.
Learn More About Chronological Order

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.
Learn More About Compare and Contrast

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.
Learn More About Order of Importance

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.
Learn More About Problem and Solution

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.
Learn More About Sequence

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.
Learn More About Spatial Organization

Do you think you can recognize these patterns of organization?  Test your skill with an online quiz:
Text Structure Practice 1
Text Structure Practice 2
Text Structure Practice 3
Text Structure Practice 4

Text Structure Worksheets

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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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Text Structure Practice 1 | Ereading Worksheet

Identifying Text Structure 2: Read the passages and put the information from each passage into an appropriate graphic organizer. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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Text Structure Practice 2 | Ereading Worksheet

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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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Text Structure Practice 3 | Ereading Worksheet

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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Text Structure Practice 4 | Ereading Worksheet

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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Text Structure Practice 5 | Ereading Worksheet

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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11
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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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11
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Text Structure Worksheet 8 – Six passages related to smart phones to help your students master text structure. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Text Structure Worksheet 9 – Six more nonfiction passages to give students practice with identifying text structure. These passages are themed around cats. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Text Structure Worksheet 10 – Eleven nonfiction passages about fireworks. I think that this one is a little bit easier to read than some of the other ones. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11
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Text Structure Worksheet 11 – Ten more text structure passages, this time related to computers. Students read the passages, identify the text structure, and represent the information using the appropriate graphic organizer. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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Text Structure Worksheet 12 – Six passages about shoes to help your students practice and review their text structure skills. This worksheet is a little bit easier than some of the other ones. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
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Text Structure Worksheet 13 – Here is another text structure worksheet that’s a little bit on the easier side to help struggling readers and younger students. The questions are the same as the other text structure worksheets, but the passages contains fewer challenging vocabulary words. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
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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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11
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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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11
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Main Idea and Text Structure Worksheet 4 – More practice with main idea and text structure to keep the students sharp. This one is themed around cars and petro-culture. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Main Idea and Text Structure Worksheet 5 – Here are five exciting passages about cotton candy. Students read each passage, explain the main idea, create a graphic organizer representing the information in the text, and come up with a title representing the main idea of the passage. This assignment is a little bit easier than the other main ice and text structure activities. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
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Main Idea and Text Structure Worksheet 6 – This worksheet contains five nonfiction passages themed around bicycles. Students will almost feel like they are out riding a bike instead of doing school work, except that they will be doing school work. This is great practice for standardized tests. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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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. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
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Text Structure Activities

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.
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Common Core State Standards Related to Text Structure

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.

Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Text Structure
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.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

 

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145 Comments

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  3. What awesome activities for teaching text structure. The best I’ve seen so far! Thanks

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     /  February 28, 2013

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     /  February 26, 2013

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  14. Jennifer T.

     /  January 30, 2013

    Fabulous! Do you have any that cover Description, or does that fall under one of the other structures?

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  15. DKNY

     /  January 20, 2013

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  21. stacy

     /  November 13, 2012

    having trouble getting the text structure powerpoint to open…suggestions?

    Reply
  22. very nice

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  23. Kari

     /  November 4, 2012

    I am teaching text structures for the first time and this has been tremenedously helpful!!! Thank you so much for sharing this resource

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  30. Amy

     /  July 5, 2012

    These will be great in supporting common core standards. Thank you for providing them!

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  31. Structure and Reading:

    Is structure a grand scale of grammar?
    Reading as well, a wide range of reading comprehension?

    This is very close to TOEFL. What do you think?

    Reply
  32. GB

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     /  February 19, 2012

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  38. jamal hussain

     /  January 18, 2012

    excellent

    Reply
    • jamal hussain

       /  January 18, 2012

      outstanding informations regarding organization of the passage.

      Reply
  39. Griffin Dwyer

     /  January 17, 2012

    this is so awesome it helps me out a lot in school it makes a lot more sense now

    Reply
  40. Jerrica

     /  December 6, 2011

    i would like to let your know that on the text structure worksheet. You should maybe think about putting mor challenging question, a reason for the answer to help students understand.

    Reply
    • Mr. Morton

       /  December 14, 2011

      Thanks for your suggestion. I have a bunch of text structure worksheets that I’m just waiting for time to post. Maybe you’ll like those.

      Reply
  41. swati

     /  November 11, 2011

    FAAAAAAAAAnnnnntastic.. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  42. Diane

     /  October 21, 2011

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  43. Mrs. Bihn

     /  October 20, 2011

    Thank you so much for everything on this page- it has been incredibly helpful!

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  44. George Trey baumann

     /  October 4, 2011

    All I need to do is go on my phone in the middle of third period, and go to this website, Thanks 😀

    Reply
  45. Ruth Bowen

     /  August 25, 2011

    The activities are a gold mine for this skill! The passages are short enough to work in a class period or for remediation/intervention. Outstanding!

    Reply
  46. elissa valley

     /  March 29, 2011

    Where would I find the answers to these text structure worksheets? That would be a great help. Thanks.

    Reply
  47. Terri

     /  March 25, 2011

    Great worksheets! Thanks!

    Reply
  48. Lynda Hall

     /  March 7, 2011

    Love these application worksheets!

    Reply
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