Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nonfiction Text Structures

Recently, my friends and I studied the different text structures of nonfiction.  Having limited resources available to me in school, I went to my old friend "The Web."  You might know my friend.  No matter what I need, he always delivers.  Okay, enough of the corny stuff.  What I really found on my search for more information on nonfiction text structure was this amazing site:

Have you been to this site?  The link above will take you to the page on text structure, but if you browse around there is a lot of other really good stuff there.  Their home page link is here.

This link will take you to their PDF packet on nonfiction text structure.  I used it to make some quick posters in my room to compliment the lessons I did.  If I had more time, they would be a bit fancier, but we are nearing the end of the marking period and I'm swamped with work.  Here is what the posters look like.  If you look at the PDF file, you will see that I enlarged some of the pages to make the posters.

The PDF packet has some fantastic resources in it.  One of the things I liked was the inclusion of signal words to help my friends identify text structure.  I added those to each chart.  Here are some other great things about this resource:
  • In addition to signal words, it provides signal questions to help identify which text structure is used.
  • It shows the different graphic organizers that are used for each type of text structure.
  • There is a fantastic summarizing handout that pulls it together for your friends, sort of like a quick reference guide.
  • The last few pages of the packet are five paragraphs on a common theme (crocodiles!) that you can use to have your friends identify the type of text structure. 
Since I taught a different structure each day as a mini lesson, I typed the paragraphs and projected the appropriate one on my ProBoard.  Then, my friends highlighted the signal words within the paragraph.  You could also just print the paragraphs and use them to assess your friends by having them identify the type of text structure and signal words.  I should also point out that my friends loved the content of the paragraphs, and we all learned more about crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gavials.  I know my schema is larger because I had no idea what a gavial was before these lessons!

It can be hard to find real-life examples of the different text structures in books when you don't have the time to look around.  The PDF does have a list of books you can use, but if you have a social studies textbook you have a fantastic resource in your hands.  I find our textbook uses all five structures over and over again.  It was quite easy for my friends to work in partner groups to identify sections throughout the book that use the five different structures.  As we continue to work in social studies, I will throw out the question, "What text structure is being used here?"  I'm happy to say they usually know.

So, when I find a great resource, you know I like to share.  If you have no interest in nonfiction text structure, still take a look around the Literacy Leader web site.  It's a keeper!  I promise you will find something you like.


  1. OMG I just taught this today and was going to blog about it tomorrow!

    1. Linday, great minds think alike! I was just over at your blog to check read your post. I LOVE the idea of having my friends make a book using the text structures. Very cool idea!

  2. I have also recently taught this, but to my 4th graders. We are using a common core standards book.

    Shepherd's Shining Stars

  3. Whoa! I taught this same lesson on Monday--to sixth graders!
    It must be in the third week of January requirements... for everyone!
    We used similar "maps." But I like the inclusion of signal words. I'll add those in when I review. Good idea!
    Thanks for sharing the links and the resources.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. I think it is the time of year for text structure! I love that we share what we can all share what we do!

  4. What a great resource! Thanks for sharing it.
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. Thanks for the link! We are teaching different text structures now, so this will come in very handy!

    Teaching in Room 6

  6. I am teaching this next week! I was struggling with creating the lesson...thanks for the great ideas!

  7. Thanks so much for this post!! I appreciate all the resources. :)

  8. I have referred to this post so many times and have yet to drop you a line. Thank you so much for this information. It has been a huge help to the teachers in my school with the Common Core and text structure. :) I just recently blogged about text structure and referenced your site. :)

  9. I can't find the PDF, it is gone!!! Do you know how I could find it?

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  11. Here's a current link