Text structure

Text structure is used to organise information to suit the type of text and its purpose. Students are beginning to write simple texts for a range of purposes. Students are working towards composing coherent structured texts of at least one page for imaginative, informative and persuasive purposes.

Strategy

Explicit teaching

Students are beginning to write simple texts for a range of informative, imaginative and persuasive purposes.

Students need to be aware of a range of text structures (formats) that are employed to compose texts of at least one page that achieve their intended purpose. Students also need to be able to organise their ideas appropriately within a text structure. Text structure creates clarity through appropriately sequenced ideas and information and students should recognise that text structure enables them to express ideas clearly in written forms.

Teach students to use headings and paragraphs in appropriate texts.

Teach students to sequence information and ideas.

General strategies

Engage students with frequent experiences of reading, hearing and viewing a range of texts structured in effective ways. It is important to facilitate this in a variety of learning areas. This will not only develop literacy learning in purposeful and contextualised ways, but also support students to generalise their knowledge of text structures and features across fields and subject matter.

Prompt students to consider what is different or similar among a range of text structures and encourage students to explore the reason for text structures (e.g. students look at a recipe and discuss what would happen if the list of ingredients was placed at the end).

The use of headings or graphic organisers initially will assist students to plan and write different types of structured texts, such as: a persuasive text with separate paragraphs for the introduction, body and conclusion; an informative text with headings and subheadings.

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: text building

This activity will support students understanding of the importance of text structure. It can be done in a whole class or small group context.

  • Prepare a range of simple texts with different structures and cut up into their various components to be reconstructed by students.
  • Model one whole class and then hand out other deconstructed texts to small groups (or continue whole class if appropriate).
  • Allow students an appropriate time-frame to discuss and build their text.
  • Groups/class share and reflect on their discussions and decisions about the text structures.
  • Use questioning to elicit deeper understanding, e.g. What is the purpose of this text and how did you know? How did you know which part belonged at the beginning? Could you have put any parts in a different order?
  • Variation: groups work on the same text for final comparison, or groups work on a range of texts for final sharing.

Activity 2: missing parts

This activity takes a problem solving and student centred approach to engage and familiarise students with the structural components of different types of texts. It can be run as a literacy centre activity, one lesson or a regular writing exercise.

  • Prepare a range of simple texts with different structures and remove one component to be composed by students, e.g. a persuasive text missing an introduction; a recipe missing an ingredient list.
  • In groups students should read their texts with the missing part, encourage group discussion about the text.
  • Students need to use clues and context from the existing text to inform what they will write for the missing component.
  • This task can be differentiated to suit students learning needs within your class (text length, text complexity, writing scaffolds, display missing text options and students select the best match).
  • When they have finished, groups can compare their text with the original to evaluate and reflect on their decisions.

References

Australian curriculum

ACELY1661: Creating texts: Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements, for example illustrations and diagrams.

NSW syllabus

EN1-9B: Outcome 9: uses basic grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary appropriate to the type of text when responding to and composing texts  (EN1-9B) - Respond to and compose texts: begin to organise ideas into paragraphs when composing texts

NSW literacy continuum

WRIC6M2: Aspects of writing, Cluster 6, Marker 2: Begins to use text features such as headings and paragraphs to organise information.

Teacher resources

Student resources

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