structures of informational text
Enumeration, the least complex text structure, is a listing of major ideas, events, or details. There is no specified order to the listing. It is like a shopping list: the order that you put things into the cart does not matter as long as you collect them all before checkout. In an enumerative text structure, the major ideas and corresponding supporting details do not have to be read or retold in a prescribed order.
Definition: A major idea is supported by a list of details and examples.
Signal Words: for instance, for example, such as, to illustrate, another
A time order structure sequences the major ideas and supporting details according to the passage of time.
Definition: A major idea is supported by details. Both major ideas and supporting details must be in a particular sequence.
Signal Words: at, first, next, last, before, after, finally, following
Compare and Contrast
The compare and contrast structure describes how concepts are similar or different.
Definition: The supporting details of two or more major ideas indicate how those concepts are similar or different.
Signal Words: but, different from, same as, similar to, as opposed to, instead of, however, compared with, as well as, both
Cause and Effect
Cause and effect is a structure in which the supporting details give the possible causes of an event or the results produced by an event.
Definition: The supporting details give the causes of a major idea or the supporting details are the results produced by the major idea
Signal Words: because of, as a result of, may be due to, effects of, therefore, consequently, for this reason, if...then, causing
Question and Answer
In a question and answer structure, major ideas are posed as questions with supporting details embedded in the answers.
Definition: The major idea is posed as a question. Supporting details answer the question.
Signal Words: who? what? when? where? why? how?