Nonfiction Text Structures Cool Ways to Help You Understand What You are Reading!
Description Concept/Definition Definition Provides information about a topic Lists important characteristics Connects ideas through description Gives examples
Description Concept/Definition Signal Words Is For example Involves Can be Defined An example For instance In fact Also Contain Make up
Description Concept/Definition Example Viruses contain protein and genetic material. But viruses don’t act like living things. They can’t eat, grow, break down food, or use oxygen. In fact, a virus can not function on its own. A virus can reproduce only inside a living cell that serves as a host. A host is a living thing that a virus or parasite lives on or in. Using a host’s cell as a tiny factory, the virus forces the host to make viruses rather than healthy new cells.”
Problem/Solution Definition States or shows development of a problem Lists or shows solutions to a problem Poses a question and then answers it
Problem/Solutions Signal Words A problem is A solution is The problem is Is solved by A potential alternative is Solution Issue A possible answer Therefore Conclusion
Problem/Solution Example “ What was the most famous repair job in space? The problem was fixing the Hubble Space Telescope. It didn’t work perfectly at first. One of its mirrors was a bit too flat. This blurred the images. Also, there was a slight wobble as the satellite traveled in orbit. The solution was in 1993, NASA sent astronauts in a space shuttle to repair the Hubble. They caught the telescope with a 50-ft. robot arm and pulled it into the shuttle’s cargo bay. Working in space suits, they replaced some parts, added new instruments, and launched it back into orbit.”
Compare/Contrast Definition Points out likenesses and/or differences Explains how two or more things are alike and/or different
Compare/Contrast Signal Words Different from Same as Alike Like Similar to Unlike But As well as Yet Either…or Not only…but Compared to In contrast While
Compare/Contrast Signal Words cont. Resembles Although Unless Similarly However
Compare/Contrast Example “Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere that protects all the plants and animals on the planet from the extreme conditions in space. It shields us from the sun’s radiation, helps us keep our planet warm, and contains the oxygen that many Earth’s creatures need to survive. Mars, too, has an atmosphere, but it is very different from Earth’s. The Martian atmosphere is very thin and is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide. Fine red Martian dust fills the air and creates a pink sky all year round.”
Sequencing/Chronological Definition Puts facts, events, or concepts in order Traces the development of the topic Gives the steps in the process Lists items or events in chronological order
Sequencing/Chronological Signal Words First Second Third Now Before After Then Next Finally Following While Meanwhile Last During
Sequencing Example “ A long time ago, in 1853, no one knew what a dinosaur looked like. This was long before the movie Jurassic Park; in fact, it was before anyone had even drawn a picture of a dinosaur. At least, no one had drawn a dinosaur before Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Hawkins worked with scientists who had discovered dinosaur bones. First he looked at the bones. Then Hawkins started to draw. Next he made models of those drawings, giving the world a first look at what dinosaurs looked like when they roamed the earth.”
Cause/Effect Definition Shows how facts, events, or concepts happen because of other facts, events, or concepts Lists one or more causes and the resulting effect(s)
Cause/Effect Signal Words So that Because of Thus Unless Therefore Since In order to As a result of This led to Then Reasons for Consequently Thus accordingly Nevertheless If…then
Cause/Effect Example “In recent decades, cities have grown large so that now about 50% of the Earth's population lives in urban areas. The increasing industrialization of the nineteenth century resulted in the creation of many factory jobs, which tended to be located in cities. Consequently, people from rural areas were attracted to the cities. Then there were many schools established to educate the children of the new factory laborers. Therefore, the promise of a better education persuaded many families to leave farming communities and move to the cities. As the cities grew, people established places of leisure, entertainment, and culture, such as sports stadiums, theaters, and museums. These facilities made city life appear more interesting, and therefore drew people away from rural communities.”
Enumeration Signal Words First, second, third… One, two, three… Ten, nine, eight…
Enumeration Example Top 5 Blockbuster Online Rentals: 1.Crash 2.Million Dollar Baby 3.Derailed 4.Rumor Has It 5.Wedding Crashers
Process Definition A series of actions to accomplish a goal
Process Signal Words Begins with… In order to… Start here… Step one…
Process Example How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich STEP 1: Using a knife, spread a generous layer of peanut butter on one slice of bread. STEP 2: Clean the knife with a napkin or use another knife so the peanut butter and jelly don't mix in their containers. STEP 3: Spread jelly or jam on the other slice of bread. Use slightly less jelly than peanut butter. STEP 4: Put the two pieces of bread together with the peanut butter and jelly sides facing one another. Cut the sandwich in half for easier eating.
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