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Expository text structure is complex due to many forms nonfiction can take.
Expository text structure is complex due to many forms nonfiction can take.
Literacyhow
Vol. 4, No. 8
April 2017
 Literacy How-To: Teaching Expository Text Structure
Compare and Contrast: Reinforcing the Use of Conjunctions to Support Comprehension & Writing
Literacy How Mentor Margaret Balboni demonstrates the use of meaning links "but" and "however" to describe differences between two things, and "just like" and "both" to describe two things that are the same.  These links connect information between different parts of the text.  This lesson follows the introduction of the compare-contrast structure and the accompanying graphic organizer, as well as a separate lesson reading the text together. After oral rehearsal, first graders write about sharks and whales.
Why Teach Text Structure?
Text structure can be taught to students and this awareness can improve reading comprehension (Carlisle & Rice, 2002).  "At-risk children in the primary grades can achieve gains in comprehension, including the ability to transfer what they have learned to novel texts, when they are given highly structured and explicit instruction that focuses on text structure" (Williams, 2005).
As discussed in the last e-news, narrative text structure is easier to teach than expository because all stories have the same basic form.  Expository text structure is more complex due to the variety of forms nonfiction texts can take (descriptive, sequence, compare-contrast, etc.). According to the Common Core State Standards, teachers need to teach both narrative (literature) and expository (informational) text structures. 
The use of graphic organizers helps children visualize different text structures and serves as a springboard and reference for writing.   See how first graders respond when asked to spell "whales" in this video.
Navigating the Road of Dyslexia
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