Tag Archives: instructional strategies

Understanding Text Structures

Click on the graphic above to read the original post.

In this week’s DPI RttT Weekly Update, a blog post from The Learning Network is referenced as a quality resource for providing students support with text structures.  The post, “Compare-Contrast, Cause-Effect, Problem-Solution: Common ‘Text Types’ in The Times,” provides insight about research-based literacy strategies that work well with informational texts.

The post also provides examples of both articles and non-print media from The New York Times  website that fit three different text structures:  compare-contrast, cause-effect, and problem-solution.  Articles range from topics such as Occupy Wall Street to Hand Washing in Hospitals and everything in between.  What a great way to engage students in high-interest, complex, informational texts!

These selections are student-friendly examples of informational texts.  It is important to note that each example is a sophisticated piece of writing, which coincides with the expectation for students as defined by Standard 10 of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts  — increasing students’ capacity with complex texts.

Furthermore, within the article, The Learning Network has provided modifications to some common graphic organizers that can be used as a resource while reading cause-effect, compare-contrast, and problem-solution texts.   However, one of my favorite resources in the article is the list of key signal words and phrases provided for each type of text structure to support students as they engage with the text.

This short read is truly worth your time.  The articles, graphic organizers, signal words, and non-print resources make this a great place to start when working with informational texts.


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Shaping Up Review


Shaping Up is a summarizing literacy strategy for students of all ages in any course.



Purpose:  To engage students in synthesizing major concepts


Description: Students will synthesize major concepts from the lesson using four different shapes.



By varying the manner in which students visually summarize their learning, retention of the information learned is increased.  








In the upper left-hand corner, “The Heart,” have students write one thing that they loved learning about in the lesson being reviewed.




In the upper right-hand corner, “The Square,” have students write four things that they think are important concepts from the lesson being reviewed. One concept should be placed in each corner.




In the lower left-hand corner, “The Triangle,” have students write the three most important facts they learned from lesson being reviewed. One fact should go in each corner.




In the lower right-hand corner, “The Circle,” have students write one, all-encompassing (global- like the circle) statement that summarizes all of the important concepts and facts learned in the lesson being reviewed.



To access a copy of the student handout, click here…




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Message of the Week: October 7, 2008

In keeping with the theme of literacy and vocabulary development, here are some vocabulary strategies you may want to try. 

Word Jar – For Independent Reading

The following information is written on a strip of paper and then added to the Word Jar:

1.    Word

2.    Text/Page Number

3.    Sentence in which the word was used

4.    Student’s name

At the end of class, words can be chosen from the Word Jar and read.

Students try to guess the meaning of the word.

The word is then read in context.

The teacher can use www.visuwords.com , www.wordsmyth.net , www.lexipedia.com ,or another dictionary/thesaurus site to demonstrate how the word can be used or connected to other words.

The word can then be added to the Word Wall.


Vocabulary Frames



Vocabulary Frames is a flashcard method for learning new vocabulary.

However, this strategy should not be used for every vocabulary word encountered.

Words that introduce new concepts or ideas are best used with Vocabulary Frames.

Steele, Kathy (2008). Four Vocabulary strategies for high school students. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from LitSite Alaska Web site: http://litsite.alaska.edu/workbooks/readingvocabulary.html



See all archived messages under Resources at http://www.hickoryschools.net/C10/Curriculum%20and%20Instruction/default.aspx

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