Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Text Sturcture: 7 Types

Chronological Order

When information in a passage is organized by the time in which each event occurred, it is organized chronologically. Nonfiction passages that are organized chronologically often contains dates. Fiction passages or narratives are more subtle and are organized chronologically but usually have no dates. A narratives or story is a journey through time, and all of the events are arranged in order of time; therefore, every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Even if an author uses flashbacks, flash-forwards, or otherwise manipulates the time in his or her text, the events still occur along a timeline. Stories require the passage of time; therefore, all stories are organized chronologically. Sometimes time will stop in a narrative. Certain passages in a story may focus on describing scenary or spaces, and use a descriptive or spatail method of organization. The conflict of a story may be discussed in terms of problem and solution or cause and effect, but the text in a story is stillmainly organized chronologically.
Remember:Chrono = TimeLogic = OrderStories are told chronologically or in order of time.

Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast is a text structure or pattern of organization where the similarities and differences of two or more things are explored. It is important to remember that with the compare and contrast text structure the text should be discussing similarities and differences. If the text only discusses similarities, it is only comparing. Likewise, if it only discusses ways that the things are different, it is only contrasting. The text must do both to be considered compare and contrast.

Order of Importance

Ideas or steps are prioritized by the writer or speaker according to a hierarchy of value. When using the order of importance pattern of organization, information can be structured from most important to least important or least important to most important. Both structures would be considered as the order of importance text structure.

Sequential order, or process writing as it is sometimes called, is when information in a passage is organized by the order in which it occurs. This method of organizing text is generally used for instructions or directions, but it can also be used to explain processes in nature or society, such as how a president is elected. Sequential organization is frequently confused with chronological order. To further confound the issue, sometimes people refer to chronological order as chronological sequence. But there is a key difference that distinguishes the two patterns: texts organized chronologically occur at a specific time and setting, whereas texts describing processes or sequences do not occur at any specific time and place. To elaborate, if I tell the story of how I came home and made cookies, that information is organized chronologically. The story took place in my kitchen sometime in the past. Alternately, consider instructions on how to make cookies. When did that occur? That could happen at anytime or no time at all. This is because a recipe describes a process or sequence, one which is not attached to any specific chronology.

Sequence: How to Make CookiesUnlike chronologically ordered texts, information organized sequentially does not occur at any specific time but, rather, anytime.

Signal Words: First, next, before, lastly, then


Spatial organization is when information in a passage is organized in order of space or location. If you were to describe the room in which you were sitting right now, you would be using spatial organization. Spatial organization may also be called descriptive writing and it is most frequently used when the narrator describes how something looks. Spatial organization is generally pretty easy to identify, but be aware that spatial organization is used in both fiction and nonfiction texts. Most fictional passages are organized chronologically, but in paragraphs where the narrator is describing a setting or the appearance of a character, the information may be organized spatially.

Spatial Text Structure

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is a common way to organize information in a text. Paragraphs structured as cause and effect explain reasons why something happened or the effects of something. These paragraphs can be ordered as causes and effects or as effects and then causes. The cause and effect text structure is generally used in expository and persuasive writing modes.
To put it another way: when an author gives reasons why something happened, he or she is explaining what caused an effect (reasons are causes and the thing that happens is the effect). Also, when a writer explains the results of an action, he or she is explaining the effects of a cause (results are effects and the thing that occurs is the cause). The cause and effect text structure is used so commonly that you have probably written a paragraph using it and not noticed.

Problem and Solution

Problem and Solution is a pattern of organization where information in a passage is expressed as a dilemma or concerning issue (a problem) and something that was, can be, or should be done to remedy this issue (solution or attempted solution). The problem and solution text structure may seem like it would be easy to recognize, but it can be moderately difficult to identify because it is frequently confused with the cause and effect pattern of organization, as they both have relational structures; however, if you read the passage and look specifically for both a problem and a solution to the problem, you should find it pretty easy to distinguish from cause and effect, as cause and effect passages do not propose solutions to any negative occurrences within the passage but rather just explain why or how they happen.

Links to Worksheets

  1. Text Structure Worksheets
  2. Text Structure Activities
  3. All Reading Worksheets
Now, Start Scribbling!

Happy Writing!
The Writer Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

No comments:

Post a Comment