How to Teach Text Structure – Introduction Lesson Plan with Free Resources

Text reads, "Intro to text structure lesson plans" with a picture of pens and a notebook

Are you looking forward to introducing text structure to your upper elementary students, but don’t know how to teach text structure? Look no further! With a few freebies from Llama with Class and these detailed lesson plans, you and your students will be ready to go! 

Want to know why I LOVE teaching text structure? Check out that blog post here

Follow along with this lesson plan to see how to teach text structure


Students will learn about the 5 main text structures, use keywords to determine the correct structure, and fill out graphic organizers to record key information from each passage. 


Text Reads: Grab the structure freebies" with a picture of freebies needed for how to teach text structure
How to Teach Text Structure? Grab these freebies that go along with this lesson plan. Basic Economics Text Structure and Text Structure Key Work Chart and Graphic Organizers

Students will need:



  • Third Grade: RI.3.8: Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence)
  • Fourth Grade: RI.4.5: Describe 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
  • Fifth Grade: RI.5.5: Compare and Contrast the overall structure (e.g chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts. 


You should plan on spending 15-20 minutes for 7-8 days to introduce this concept to your students. This works great as a mini-lesson or warm-up to your ELA block. You will also notice that the content of the practice text is basic economics so you could also use these lessons during your social studies block to free up your ELA time. 


Use page 3 of the Text Structure Economy product to see how well students can identify each text structure. 

Text reads: "Text structure examples of the same topic" and shows a worksheet with paragraphs about basic economics written in different text structures
Show students an example of each text structure written about economics and see if they can identify each. This works great as an assessment!

Daily Outline 

Optional Preview Day 

The text structure practice I suggest using is related to basic economics. As a preview, it is great to read something related to economics to build some background knowledge. 

In my social studies textbook, there is a section on economics. I like to start with this because it allows me to teach some of the social studies skills along with the ELA standards. Take a look in your textbooks and see if there is a section or chapter that would help build background information on economics. 

If you have a subscription to BrainPop there are a few videos about things like Supply & Demand and the History of Money. On BrainPop Jr. there are videos about Needs & Wants, Goods & Services, and Saving & Spending. These work great as a preview to concepts if you are looking for a quick video or warm-up. 

There are also some great children’s books with themes of Economics that you might already own or could grab at the library.

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts 

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams 

Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina 

Grandpa’s Corner Store by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins 

Day 1 

Materials: Key word chart (page 3 of key words product)

Project the key word chart for students to see. Explain to students that authors will use different text structures depending on their purpose and the information they are sharing. 

Use a piece of paper to cover the chart, and share one row at a time discussing the purpose, the key words, and the graphic organizer for each text structure. 

Text reads, "explicitly go over text structures" with a picture of a whiteboard showing how to teach text structure with a chart being showing a little at a time.
When thinking about how to teach structures, make sure to explicitly teach what each text structure is, why an author uses it, the keywords that go with it, and show a graphic organizer that matches the setup.

Hand out a copy of the chart to each student. (They will refer back to this chart for the rest of the lessons.) Have students work in pairs. One student will tell one characteristic of a text structure and the other student figures out what text structure that student is describing. 

Example partner discussion: 

Partner 1: What text structure uses the word “however”?

Partner 2: That is compare and contrast 

Partner 2: What text structure looks at one thing causing another?

Partner 1: Cause and effect (or problem and solution)

Day 2

Materials: Key word chart, page 5 of economics text structure folded in half, pencil, highlighter 

Text says, "everything you need for text structure practice" with a picture of a the key word chart and economics text structure page folded in half.
Look at the passage folded in half. Students can refer back to the chart to look for key words and determine the text structure.

Step 1: Read through and discuss the passage with students. 

Step 2: Have students use their key word chart to search for key words. They should notice a clear topic sentence with the topic (running a business is hard work) in addition to the word, “also.” 

Step 3: Discuss what text structure students think it shows. Help guide the conversation to “Descriptive.” Write descriptive on the line below. 

Step 4: Next, unfold the paper to show the graphic organizer. Show students how often the first and last sentences can show the topic. The following sentences often are details. List these on the graphic organizer. 

Step 5: Using the graphic organizer, have students verbally summarize the key information. Their verbal summary will often follow the same text structure set up. 

Days 3-6

Complete the steps as listed above. Use the following pages from the economics text structure packet for each day. 

Day 3: Page 7

Day 4: Page 8

Day 5: Page 6

Day 6: Page 4

(Note: Each text structure packet I create is in a different order so that students don’t get used to the pattern. For teaching, however, I like to expose students to the text structures in this order.)

The text reads, "text structure passages and organizers for each type" with a picture of economics paragraphs for each type of text structure.
Each page focuses on a different text structure for simple and direct instruction.

Refer to the answer key (pages 9-10) to see what words students should highlight and how to fill out the organizers. 

Day 7: Assessment 

Materials: Key word chart and page 3 from Economics Text Structure 

Now that you have introduced students to each text structure and discussed how it is used, common key words, and completed graphic organizers, take a moment to assess their understanding. 

I use this one-page assignment (which is page 5 in the economics packet) to see how well my students can identify text structures on their own. Students have already seen each paragraph, so they should know the content well. This will help them determine the text structure on their own. 

Based on how the class does, I determine if I need to repeat the same steps with a different passage, use similar passages in more independent ways, or work with students in small groups during guided reading. 

Differentiation Options 

  • Based on your students, have students read the passage individually, in pairs, or read it aloud to the whole class. 
  • Keep the page unfolded to help students see the corresponding organizer while determining the text structure 
  • Have students fill out the pages in pairs 
  • Use either the highlight and type (more challenging) or the drag and drop (more support) digital versions with students 
  • Have students look for key words without the chart for an added challenge 
  • Extension: Have students write their own paragraphs about economics or another topic using each text structure

It Doesn’t End Here 

Even if all my students do a fabulous job on my economics text structure assessment, I know I am not finished for the year. Students need lots of exposure and practice to really understand text structure and use it to improve their overall comprehension. 

Except says, "students need lots of exposure and practice to really understand text structure and use it to improve their overall comprehension."

I continue to use similar passages designed around text structure as often as I can. I try to match them to the curriculum I am already teaching or relate them to upcoming holidays. You can check out all the ones I have in my TpT store by clicking here for the holiday bundle and clicking here for the science and social studies bundle

Once when students feel confident in their text structure knowledge, we start applying these same skills to authentic texts we are using during guided reading or even in our textbooks. The free graphic organizers come in handy for any text! 

How Did it Go with Your Class?

Please share with me if you used these lesson plans with your students. I would love to hear how it went! Tag me on Instagram @llamawithclass, send me an email: or comment right here on the blog! 

Make every teaching moment count, 

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