Informational Texts Structures in Remedial Reading

The Thousand Words Project (Brushstrokes and Words and Research), Giselle Cyr, Lewiston Middle School, 7th Grade

Remedial Reading and Language Arts – Students will recognize informational text structures and differentiate authors’ purposes. Students will apply this knowledge by writing five different kinds of expository paragraphs.

Students will meet the following common assessment adopted by the Lewiston School district for 7th graders:  “Students will identify 5 types of expository text structures and will be able to write a cause and effect and problem and solution paragraph.”

Teach it:
The Bates College Museum of Art will provide a number of photographs of New York City and the Hudson River as a means to give students a foundation for their study of text structures.

Students built on skills learned in previous TWP lessons to enhance their writing skills.

TWP Vocabulary: Convey, Depict, Interpretation, Perceive, Dichotomy

  • During the discussion students will orally relate sight, sound, touch, smell and taste imagery associated with NY city scenes to help them prewrite a descriptive paragraph.
  • In preparation for their comparison/contrast paragraph writing, students will orally compare big city life to small city life by discussing photos that depict NYC and those that depict Lewiston, Maine. Students will identify transition words which alert the reader to see similarities and differences.
  • Bates College pictures depicting the actual construction of the Empire State Building will be used as a springboard to discuss problems and their solutions.  Students will learn how to define a multi-faceted problem and offer at least two possible solutions to that problem.
  • Pictures depicting the Hudson River as a resource for NYC will be help students recognize the natural resource’s effect on the city.  Students will apply transition words to their sentences to show the relationship of a cause (NYC’s Hudson River, a natural resource) to its effects on industry, commerce and tourism.
  • Videos and pictures depicting a 24 hour day will provide the catalyst for the writing of a sequentially-organized paragraph.  Students will use common transitions words which denote order and chronology as they craft their writing.

Dig Deeper

Students in groups of four self-select an informational topic to research and present to the class. Each member of the group presents his/her information according to an organizational pattern studied (cause/effect, description, comparison/contrast, problem/solution and sequence/chronological order.)  For example, a group working on roller coasters, would present information (using a graphic organizer projected on a screen) which included the description of a specific roller coaster, the history of roller coasters, the comparison/contrast of two popular roller coasters and the problems and solutions involved with building taller roller coasters.

Technical Tips

Using Inspiration, an organizational writing took, students design a graphic organizer to connect ideas to present to the class.  Using I-Movie, students could make a short documentary video.