Teaching Text Structures

An important 4th grade “craft & structure” standard, in my opinion, is the informational text structure standard.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.5Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

This 4th grade standard requires the students to be able to describe the different types of text structures that they will be reading throughout the year. Since they will be reading multiple informational texts, it is helpful to introduce these structures to the students up front, so they can identify the structures, recognize signal words, and learn to read these types of texts throughout their 4th grade year. (Ohh.. and this helps prepare them for 5th grade when they are required to compare multiple structures).

So how do I teach my students the different types of text structures? Follow along with me as I share this information with you!!


Pretest – Page 1

First, I give my students a pretest. We know that assessment drives instruction, and all that good stuff, but it also motivates the students to see their test scores increase after the unit! In our lap book unit, we create a “flap” where students are able to graph there pre assessments results.  After grading these, I get a good idea of who needs extra help during our study as well.


Lap Books

There is research out there that supports the use of lap books in the classroom.  I have read multiple articles that implement these nifty projects for various reasons. Some use lap books for assessment purposes, and some teachers use them simply as a “craftivity”.  I chose to implement these lap books in my text structures unit because the one that I have designed allows the students to be creative, documents the standard, allows them to record the pretest and posttest results, and gives them a life long reference tool that they can take home….Because we know they will keep them forever, right? 😉

This specific download includes interactive elements too! For example, students will be given problem and solution cards that they must sort and put in their “pockets” in their lap books! The kids love it! I also created posters for each type of structure.






Have you ever used Readworks? Well, if you haven’t, honey, get on www.readworks.org and associate yourself with this little piece of heaven!!  You are able to search for different texts based on topic, Lexile level, grade, or skill/strategy.  Oh, and it’s free! Skill/strategy is what I use when finding texts for my text structures unit. Here are links to the specific texts I use to teach these structures.

“Get in the Loop”
“Water Woes”

Cause & Effect 
“Now Hear This!”
“Return to Flight”

Problem & Solution
“Can the Amazon Be Saved”
“Frogs at Risk”

Compare & Contrast
“Remote Control Classroom” 
“Ryan’s Well”

“The Chimp’s Champ”
“Watch Your Commas”

Various other instructional strategies

Readworks isn’t the only resource I use to find texts for my text structure unit.  There are many mentor texts out there that can be used to demonstrate these different types of texts to the students. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE TPT DOWNLOAD I FOUND THAT LISTS MULTIPLE MENTOR TEXTS They are divided by standard, and are super helpful when trying to find texts to use in class!

Post assessment

After I have used many instructional strategies, completed the lap book activities, and used multiple Readworks texts to allow students to become more familiar with the different text structures, I give the posttest. (This is the same test that I had given in the beginning.) Students are then able to graph their posttest results in their lap books!!


I really enjoy teaching this unit because it works as a nice foundation unit for beginning the year.  It also works nicely in conjunction with a text features unit.

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Stephanie Nash

I have been helping teachers organize, develop routines, and create inviting & beautiful classrooms since 2012!

10 Responses

  1. I'm thankful for this great resource, my 4th graders will be very excited to work on their lap books. This is my first present of the New Year 2016, thank you for helping teachers!!

  2. This is EXACTLY what I need! I'm so bummed we've already covered text structures this year, but I'll definitely be changing it up next year. This 5th Grade Language Arts teacher is SO thankful you listed out examples from ReadWorks! That is GOLD!

    1. Yay!! This resource is a great start for text structures for 5th grade. (It doesn't compare them as the 5th grade standard says, but it works well to introduce or review the structures!) 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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