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Authors use many different methods to organize information. If you know which organizational method the author is using, you will better understand the information you read. Authors use two techniques to clearly show how ideas are related to one another: Organizational Methods (Patterns)

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Structures of Nonfiction Text

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Structures of nonfiction text

Authors use many different methods to organize information. If you know which organizational method the author is using, you will better understand the information you read.

Authors use two techniques to clearly show how ideas are related to one another:

Organizational Methods (Patterns)

Transitions


Structures of nonfiction text

Structures of Nonfiction Text


Cause and effect

Cause and Effect

  • Cause and effect is the relationship between two things when one thing makes something else happen.

  • Thesis: Research has shown that birth defects have various causes.

  • Four basic cause-effect relationships

  • single cause - single effect

  • single cause - multiple effects

  • multiple causes - single effect

  • multiple causes - multiple effects


Cause and effect1

Cause and Effect

  • This text structure uses the process of identifying potential causes of a problem or issue in an orderly way. It is often used to teach social studies and science concepts.

  • Look for signal words that show cause/effect relationships: because, so, so that, if… then, consequently, thus, since, for, for this reason, as a result of, therefore, due to, this is how, nevertheless, and accordingly.


Structures of nonfiction text

CauseEffect

Cause: Kelly eats a lot of candy

Effect: Kelly has cavities at every check

Cause: Joel volunteers at the homeless shelter 20 hours a week.

Effect: Joel received the "Volunteer of the Year" award!

Cause: My family was late getting to the airport.

Effect: Our seats we reassigned and we had to take a later flight


Problem and solution

Problem and Solution

  • In this text structure, the author states a problem and lists one or more solutions for the problem.

  • Thesis: Mark could not pass his exams but didn’t know why until he spoke with some of his friends who had studied Maslow’s Theory.

  • Look for these signal words and phrases: Problem isDilemma isPuzzle isSolvedQuestion…answer


Structures of nonfiction text

Example:

Several students receive poor grades on writing assignments, not because they lack the ability to communicate, but because they can not seem to manage their time when it comes to a large project. They do not know where to begin, and therefore put things off until the last minute. To solve this problem, students need to develop a timeline for completing the project. If they divide the assignment into manageable “chunks” or parts and then set a schedule for completing each part, they will be able to finish the entire project before the deadline. Without the pressure of not knowing where to begin, the students will be able to focus on the assignment and communicate their ideas effectively.


Question and answer

Question and Answer

  • In this text structure, the author will ask a question, and then will offer an answer to the question.

  • Look for signal words similar to those of the problem/solution text structure.


Compare and contrast

Compare and Contrast

  • In this text structure, the author explains how two or more things are alike and/or how they are different

  • Thesis: Gangs and fraternities share many characteristics, but are quite different

  • Look for these signal words:

    However, unlike, like, by contrast, yet, in comparison, although, whereas, similar to, different from


Structures of nonfiction text

Example:

Although they are sisters, Jennifer and Jessica are complete opposites. Jennifer enjoys playing sports, while Jessica would rather watch. Jennifer has no interest in playing a musical instrument, while Jessica is the first chair violinist. Jennifer listens to new age music, while Jessica prefers country. Jennifer’s favorite subject is English, and Jessica’s favorite is math. Jennifer likes to curl up in a chair on a rainy day and read a good book , but Jessica would rather sleep all day. No one would ever guess that they are actually twins.


Description

Description

  • This text structure is best when used to learn a lot of information about a topic and the author describes a topic by listing characteristics, features, examples. Sequence does not necessarily matter.

  • Look for these signal words:

    For examplecharacteristics arefor instance, specifically, in particular, in addition


Sequence

Sequence

  • In this text structure, the author lists items or events in chronological or numerical order. Chronological order is the order in which the events occurred, from first to last.

    Thesis:

    Between now and the election, the candidate will make a number of campaign stops throughout the U.S.

  • Look for these signal words:

    Next, first, last, second, another, then, additionally


Structures of nonfiction text

Sequence or Chronological Order Example: 

It seemed like an ordinary day when she got up that morning, but Lynda was about to embark on the worst day of her life. First, she fell in the bathtub because her mother forgot to rinse out the bath oil. Then she spilled orange juice on the outfit she had spent hours putting together for school pictures. When she changed, she messed up the French braid her mother had put in her hair. As she walked out the door, she dropped all of her school books and her math homework flew away. Once she made it to the car she thought everything would be all right. She was wrong; her father didn't look before he backed out of the driveway and ran into the neighbor’s truck. Lynda’s side of the car was damaged the most, and she ended up with a broken arm. That night, she cried herself to sleep.


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