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Teaching and Assessing Understanding of Text Structures Across Grades

This article by Dr. Karin K. Hess, a recognized leader in developing practical approaches for increasing instructional rigor in the classroom, summarizes the research on teaching text structures and discusses implications for instruction across grade levels.

Because some text structures are more complicated, she highly recommends that students begin with simpler structures (sequence, time order or chronology, relationships, compare/contrast) and scaffold to the more challenging ones (cause/effect, problem/solution, argument/support, judgement/critique). She also lists signal words by text structure and offers a paragraph frame or template for using them when writing text summaries. Finally, she describes a continuum of text structure skills from Grade 3 (simple sentences) to High School (multiple paragraphs).