Identifying Text Structure

Being able to identify the structure of a text can greatly increase students' comprehension of the material being read.  There are six basic structures that are commonly found in textbooks.  Once the teacher has modeled the text structure, students can follow the organizing pattern to identify important events, concepts and ideas.  Students should also be taught the signal words that alert them to text structure.  “Students who are taught to identify the structure of expository and narrative text have been found to have better comprehension than students who have not received such instruction.” (Taylor, 1992)

Common Text Structures

Websites on Identifying Text Structure:

Literacy Matters: Text Structure

Text Structure Resources

Text Structure

Structural Clues in Nonfiction - PDF

Content Area Literacy:  Understanding Text Structure

Activating Prior Knowledge
Vocabulary Development
Comprehension Strategies
Summarization Techniques
Writing Across the Curriculum
Getting to Know Students
Technology Tools