Text structure

The relationships of different parts of a text to each other and to the text as a complex whole. The structure of the text can refer to the internal organisation of ideas, as in an argument or story, the development of parallel plots in a novel or play, or the overarching framework of the text.

How can I organise my text?

General strategies

Model texts can be annotated to identify the parts of texts with different coloured highlighters. Student texts can be scanned and projected onto interactive whiteboards and discussed and improved as a class (with permission from students).

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: introductory paragraphs

Introductory paragraphs should preview the arguments that will follow. They could have a hook to get the reader interested.

Rate the effectiveness of introductions

Students can be provided with a number of introductions and rank them from most effective to least effective and explain why.

What is missing?

Students identify missing elements in introductory paragraphs and rewrite them to add the missing element.

Matching paragraphs

Given example paragraphs from a variety of written texts on a topic, in pairs students arrange the paragraphs below the correct headings: introductory paragraphs, body paragraphs, conclusions. They should be able to find clues in the paragraph that help to identify the type of paragraph.

Activity 2: the body of text


Sequence quality texts cut up into sections.

Complete the text

Students could be given a text with the first or topic sentences missing from each paragraph and be asked to write the first sentence for each paragraph.

Students can be provided the outline of a text with just the first sentence or topic sentence of each paragraph of a text and asked to write the remainder of the paragraph.

Evaluate the writing of others

Students can evaluate whether all the structural components are present in sample student texts or published models that have been altered.

Students could give texts a mark; identify the component that is missing or weak. They could then choose one of the texts to rewrite.

Simplified marking criteria based on ACARA Persuasive writing criteria.

Text structure
0 1 2 3 4
No parts. Not clear or only one part. Two parts or all parts but weak. Introduction, body, conclusion or two developed parts and one weak. All parts well developed. Body with reasons and supporting evidence. Conclusion reinforces the writer's position.

Students can be given post it notes to use to evaluate the texts.

Text Mark How can it be improved?
(enter text). (enter mark). (enter suggestions).


Australian curriculum

ACELY1711: Interpreting, analysing, evaluating: Analyse how text structures and language features work together to meet the purpose of a text.

NSW syllabus

EN3-5B: Outcome 5: discusses how language is used to achieve a widening range of purposes for a widening range of audiences and contexts (EN3-5B) - Develop and apply contextual knowledge: identify and discuss how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and discuss ways of using conventions of language to shape readers' and viewers' understanding of texts.

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