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Text structure questions

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Questions for teachers to use as they are planning lessons for teaching text structure.

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Text structure questions

  1. 1. Text Structure Questions in the Content Areas How can you help all readers to succeed? By helping students to understand content area text, you can give them the tools they need to learn new concepts today, next year, and into the future. Content area text is often difficult for students. One reason is that this kind of text is written using various expository text structures. The text structure is the internal organization of the text. When readers don’t understand text structure, they often fail to understand the concept the author is trying to explain. As you share various content area texts with students, draw their attention to the text structures that they may see. Textbook passages often contain a variety of text structures from paragraph to paragraph. Use these questions to help start discussions with students to help them understand what they are reading. Questions to ask of Chronological Order text Chronological order text is text that is written in sequence, or time order. This kind of text can show how to solve a math problem, the events in the Battle of Gettysburg, or the life cycle of a fruit fly.  Which event is the most important?  Which event happened before_________________?  Which event happened after _____________________?  What would happen if _______________ didn’t happen?  What is the span of time from beginning to end?  Why is this process or event important? E. Kissner 2014 http://emilykissner.blogspot.com
  2. 2. Questions to ask of Cause and Effect Text Text that is written as cause and effect presents a cause, and then explains one or more effects. This text also has important characteristics of chronological order text, because causes come before effects! Cause and effect text can explain scientific concepts, like animal adaptations, or historical events, like the effects of immigration.  Why did ___________ cause ___________?  Which effects were not expected?  What might have happened if ________ were changed?  How did the author explain the causes and effects?  Is there only one effect, or are there many? Questions to ask of Problem/Solution Text This kind of text is written to explain a problem and one or more solutions. It might be explaining how a past problem was solved, or it might be showing how a current problem could be solved. This kind of text can often be found in troubleshooting guides, text about environmental problems, and social studies texts about historical problems.  How is the problem solved?  What were some causes of the problem?  Did the solution have unintended effects?  How does the author signal problem and solution?  What was the problem in the text? E. Kissner 2014 http://emilykissner.blogspot.com
  3. 3. Questions to ask of Compare and Contrast Text This kind of text is written to show how items are similar and different. A text written in compare and contrast might show how something has changed over time, comparing the item in the past with the item today. Or a text might show differences between two commonly confused items. Another purpose for compare and contrast text is to introduce a new and difficult concept by comparing it with something familiar.  What is being compared?  Are the items more similar, or more different?  How does the comparison help you to understand _____?  Which is the most important similarity? Difference?  How does the author signal compare and contrast? Questions to ask of Statement and Support Text Statement and support text is very common in textbooks. In this kind of text, the author makes a statement or generalization, and then supports it with reasons or details. Statement and support may be used to show why a person was an important historical figure or why a process is interesting or important.  What is the main idea?  How do the details support the author’s generalizations?  Which detail is the most important? Why?  How does the author connect the ideas?  Do you agree with the author’s claim? Why or why not? E. Kissner 2014 http://emilykissner.blogspot.com
  4. 4. Questions to ask of Text with Multiple Structures Some texts include multiple structures. A page of history text, for example, might have an overall structure of chronological order, with some paragraphs showing a clear cause and effect structure. In fact, most texts use a variety of structures.  How do the parts of this text fit together?  How can a reader find the answer to ____?  Which paragraph is of a different structure than the others? Why did the author include it?  How does _____ help you to understand the main ideas in the text? More for teaching text structure and content area reading Text Structure Powerpoint A presentation that introduces readers to common expository text structures. http://www.slideshare.net/elkissn/understanding-text- structures Easy Text Structure Powerpoint A presentation adapted for younger readers. http://www.slideshare.net/elkissn/text-structure-for-young- readers Cause and Effect Texts A collection of texts at various reading levels, with before and after reading activities. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Cause -and-Effect-Activity-and-Texts-for-Teaching-Text- Structure-46801 E. Kissner 2014 http://emilykissner.blogspot.com

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