Text Structures

Learning Strategy
  • appropriate text
  • specific text structure graphic organizer
Target Student

Students who struggle with comprehension and identifying text structures.


Text Structures such as sequence/order, compare-contrast, and cause-effect can be crucial to comprehending a passage, and graphic organizers help students to identify these text structures visually and structurally. This allows the student to understand what the author is saying by identifying how the author is saying it.

How To

1. With the goal of Independent recognition, explicitly teach text structures one at a time.

2. Choose a text that demonstrates a specific text structure.

3. Talk about the text structure with the students by defining it and/or explaining its everyday use (i.e. sequencing). Ensure the students understand what the text structure is.  

4. Show the text via a projector or on the board. Using thinking aloud, read the text aloud and discuss signal words or context clues that point to the specific text structure.

5. Give the students the appropriate graphic organizer and model how to complete it.

6. Next, allow the students to practice by taking on a new text and reading it carefully to look for text structure and marking signal words.

7. After closely reading through the text, have students work together to fill in their graphic organizers.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts

(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)


Dymock, S. (2005). Teaching expository text structure awareness. The Reading Teacher, 59(2), 171-181.

Langan, J. (2014). Ten Steps to Improving college reading (6th ed.). West Berlin, NJ: Townsend Press.

Moss, B. (2008). Facts that matter: Teaching students to read informational text. In D. Lapp, J. Flood, & N. Farnan (Eds.), Content area reading and learning: Instructional strategies (pp. 209-236). New York: Erlbaum.  

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