Text structure is the arrangement of ideas and the relationships among them; readers and writers who are familiar with text structure recognize how the information is unfolding. Common Core Reading Standard #5 focuses on teaching text structure: "analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text relate to each other and the whole."
As students advance to middle and high school grades, the text they read and write becomes increasingly varied in style, vocabulary, text structure, purpose, and intended audience.
Authors use structural elements to organize information and ideas and to highlight important parts of the text. Text structures can be used to gain meaning when reading and to convey meaning when writing. Click here for a document that shows the comprehension-writing structure connection. Structural elements can be organized into two categories: text features and text structures. Click here for a handout with details.
Recognition of specific patterns of organization (e.g., sequence, compare and contrast) also supports comprehension and retention of information. Click here to download paragraph templates that can help students learn how to write using different patterns of organization.
Although it is often overlooked, the use of transition words and phrases is an important structural element. Transitions make connections among sentences, paragraphs, and larger pieces of text. Transition words and phrases often provide the reader with clues about patterns of text organization. Click here to download a copy of common transition words.