Text Structure Graphic Organizers

Most text that students read above grade 4 is nonfiction.  Nonfiction text is organized into text structures. What are text structures?  Writers organize nonfiction text into five text structures. They are description, sequence, compare and contrast, cause and effect, problem and solution. Text structure graphic organizers are a great way for students to organize their notes.


This text structure graphic organizer work well when giving a description.

The text provides a detailed description about the topic.  For example, a description of a frog may include its body parts such as its webbed feet and tongue.  More details are given on the role of the webbed feet and tongue.


This text structure is organized by a process that has sequential steps. When you complete all the steps, the process repeats itself.

This type of text  is used when giving information about a topic that involves order.  This is used in science texts to show a process. For example, the water cycle has sequential steps and then the cycle repeats itself.  In social studies text, timelines are involved to show the order of events that have taken place over time. Sequencing is also used in biographies.

Compare & Contrast

When reading about similarities and differences, signal words such as alike, different, and in contrast are used.  For example, a text might compare polar bears and grizzly bears.

Cause & Effect

This is an example of a cause and effect graphic organizer.

This text structure is common in social studies and science texts.  A text about earthquakes might include what causes an earthquake as well as what effects earthquakes have on their community.  In science, a text passage about the food chain involves causes and effects. 

Problem & Solution

Often times, there is a problem when reading nonfiction text. This happens in science and social studies text. For example, global warming and pollution are problems. Several solutions or suggestions will be given in the text.

Staying Organized with Text Structure Graphic Organizers

Click on the image to learn more about text structure graphic organizers.

How do students actively engage in reading nonfiction text?  One way for students to stay engaged is by using a text structure graphic organizer.  This allows students to organize their notes as they read. Students are able to comprehend better by understanding the text structure.  Text structure graphic organizers also set the purpose for reading. Students have clear learning objectives and know the purpose of the assignment.

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