Writing Strategy: Text Structure
Background Information
Text structure is how the author organizes information within the expository text. A variety of structures are used to create an overall frame for the information:
  • Chronological: sequences events, beginning to end
  • Cause/Effect: describes cause and effect relationships
  • Compare/Contrast: uses comparisons to describe ideas
  • Description: describes with sensory details
  • Directions: provides how-to step-by-step instructions
  • Problem/Solution: describes a problem and explores possible solutions
Teaching with Mentor Texts
Use Journey North News for mentor text activities:

1. Sketch to Stretch
Have students work in small groups to mock up template-style sketches of a news update. Ask questions that stretch their thinking about the organizational framework: layout/placement of different parts: titles, headings, images, captions, and other features.

2. Create an Anchor Chart
As students study different nonfiction pieces, start building a list of different text structures on an anchor chart. Have them share how they determined structures used: clue words/phrases, headings, layout, etc.

3. Recreate with Text Templates
Use different layout templates to recreate a mentor text. How does each layout organize the topic? Pamphlet layout, poster layout, newspaper inverted V charts, interactive info graphics, and more.

4. Provide Guided Practice with Sample Journal Pages
Use the sample journal pages for guided practice. Challenge students to identify which text structures an author would use for each topic.

Sample Mentor Texts

Text Structures:

Try it! Journal Activity:

American Robin Nest with Eggs