To develop the text structure strategy, language teachers should start by introducing the idea that texts have organizational patterns called text structures. Then, students should know why they are going to learn about this so language teachers will proceed to explain that if students identify how the text is structured, they will be able to organize the information in the text in a graphic organizer. This will help them to make connections between the text and visual representations of the text and, therefore, to understand the ideas in the text much better.
How many text types should language teachers focus on in order to facilitate reading in the content areas? Yesterday I developed a CLIL seminar session on this and content teachers agreed that a simple classification including the most common patterns of organization would be enough. My proposal includes the following patterns:
- Cause and effect
- Compare and contrast
- Order of importance
- Problem and solution
To develop the text structure strategy, language teachers should:
- Show examples of paragraphs that correspond to each text structure. You can use this handout I presented yesterday.
- Make students read different texts, and ask them to determine the text structure and organize the information by using a suitable graphic organizer. We found this worksheet really useful. You will find it together with a broad range of reading and writing resources on www.ereadingworksheets.com website.
If you are thinking of sharing the proposal above with the staff at your school, the following 5-minute video can be very helpful since it explains how to teach students to identify text structures in any subject:
- The RMC Research Corporation's Center on Instruction website offers a collection of Informational text Structure Templates that language teachers can use to introduce this strategy. You can download these templates from here.
- Click here for a collection of graphic organizers in Word format.