One thing is for sure. Kids need to know text structure. Freebie included!

 Text Structure.  So easy...and yet, so elusive for some kids, right?

Certain text structures are easier for students to get.  Kids know to look for keywords, but once you get beyond picture books and into lengthier text, there aren't as many keywords.  Keywords grow into phrases at that point.

Text structure is often taught as part of nonfiction or informational writing, but it extends into fiction as well.

Think about it.  When you ask students the theme of a book, aren't they capturing the problem and solution or the cause and effect?  Yes!

So, how do you help students understand this concept?

1.  Understanding the structure of text helps comprehension

The more students can "play around" and understand the way text is written, the sooner they figure out what the author's intent is.  Once they know that, they know what to look for: what's important and what's not.


2.  Activate background knowledge

This is key to leveling the playing field for all of your students.  Start by asking them what they know about a topic or concept and let them help each other in a safe space.  When they hear what their classmates know, they learn!  

Don't be afraid to guide them to where they need to go if they don't have much background knowledge or if they get stuck.

Make sure they understand any keywords and vocabulary.

3.  Start with prereading activities

Use ones that they're familiar with.  If you can picture walk or look at other text features first, do so, and discuss what they learned.

If there is only text, let them read individually, with a partner, or in a small group.  If they can read silently, I'd encourage that.  Not all kids can.  If possible, say away though, from whole group reading.  Make the whole group the place of discussion.

4.  Scaffold activities according to their abilities

Give them room to try on their own.  At the early stages of teaching these skills, mistakes will be and SHOULD be made without fear!

  • I like the combination of learning keywords and phrases, watching a video, and then diving into fiction and nonfiction text to work best for my students.  Click below to receive this free.  

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