http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/informational-text-activities

Informational Text Activities

By Meghan Kyne

Find this Common Core aligned resource and more like it in our Elementary School Category and other Special Education Articles!
}

Learning to navigate instructional texts can be a challenge for beginning readers. Students with limited exposure to formal education, students with learning disabilities, and English Language Learners may also have a difficult time identifying the structure of the text and comprehending material with content-specific vocabulary. Providing students with direct instruction, as well as scaffolded instruction in these skills, will increase comprehension, improve recall of material, prepare students for note-taking, and aid in the development of research skills.


Text Structure

Informational texts typically follow one of five formats: cause and effect, compare and contrast, description, problem and solution, and sequence. Students can learn to recognize the text structure by analyzing the signal words contained within the text.


Typical Text Structures of Expository Text
Cause and EffectIdeas, events in time, or facts are presented as causes of the resulting effect(s) or facts that happen as a result of an event.
Compare and ContrastInformation is presented by detailing how two or more events, concepts, theories, or things are alike and/or different.
DescriptionA topic is described by listing characteristics, features, attributes, and examples.
Problem and SolutionA problem and one or more solutions to the problem is outlined.
SequenceItems or events are listed in numerical or chronological sequence, either explicitly or implied.

Informational Text Signal Words

This chart can be used by students to help them determine the text structure. Students can highlight or cross off words as they read. Scaffold the instruction by first working as a whole group on the board. Once students are comfortable with the process, have them work in small groups or in pairs until they are ready to work independently.

ITA- Instructional Text Signal Words

Example

Start My Free Trial

Once students have determined the text structure, they can use one of five graphic organizers created on Storyboard That to organize the information presented in the chapter. These activities will help students identify the focus of a chapter, make connections, and improve recall.

1. Cause and Effect

Students identify the cause of events, actions or ideas presented in a chapter or section.


Cause and effect can be very straight forward in some texts while in others, it is more implicit and will take more work for students to tease out the information. The cause and effect of events such as war, described in a history text may be more linear than the cause and effect of scientific discoveries, such as vaccinations described in a science text. Although the content and organization will vary, the text structure remains the same and can be broken down and organized into its most basic and therefore, more easily understood, components.

ITA- Text Structure - Cause and Effect

Example

Start My Free Trial

2. Compare and Contrast

Students identify the similarities and differences between two or more events or concepts.


In history class, students are often expected to be able to identify the differences between two time periods, the similarities and differences between two cultures, wars, leaders, or artwork. When teachers present this information, they do so in a way that makes the information accessible and relevant to the unit. When texts present this information it may be a little more muddled. Providing students with a way to organize the data will increase recall and retention while also increasing their ability to identify the text structure in future instances. This same strategy can be applied to comparing events or procedures in science and math.

ITA- Text Structure - Compare and Contrast

Example

Start My Free Trial

3. Description

Students describe a topic by identifying and explaining its characteristics, features, attributes, and by providing examples.


When a text spends time describing a particular person, event, time period or object, students can lose the facts in the words. Organizing the key details will provide students with a visual aid and quick reference and increase their ability to retain the information presented in the text.

ITA- Text Structure - Description

Example

Start My Free Trial

4. Problem and Solution

Students identify the problem and one or more solutions to the problem as described in the chapter or section.


Texts that are framed around a problem and its solutions come in all forms. History texts will often identify a problem that occurred, and then outline or describe the various efforts that were made to solve the problem. Science texts can define specific problems and their solutions. The arts and humanities will also define problems and outline potential solutions. Because the problems and solutions may be less explicit in some texts, it is beneficial for students to organize the information in this way so that they have a clearer understanding of the concept as a whole.

ITA- Text Structure - Problem/Solution

Example

Start My Free Trial

5. Sequence

Students identify and describe items or events in sequence.


Sequences can be implicit or explicit. Step-by-step procedures, math, and science texts will typically state a sequence explicitly. Other texts, such as history or literature, may have an implicit sequence. Helping students to identify the sequences contained within a text will increase comprehension and retention of the information.

ITA- Text Structure Analysis - Sequence

Example

Start My Free Trial

Content Exploration

In addition to identifying and comprehending the text structure, students must also learn how to interpret the content and text features. Mastering content-specific vocabulary, learning how to identify the main idea of a text, summarizing a text, and interpreting the images and figures contained in the text are critical to comprehending the material.


Analysis of Text Features

The semantic feature analysis uses a grid to help students organize information, make connections, and clarify concepts. This activity improves comprehension, vocabulary skills and content retention. The semantic feature analysis can be used before, during, or after reading. The instructor may choose to provide the features and category or terms, or to make it more challenging, leave some or all of the categories blank. Using Storyboard That, this semantic feature analysis chart can easily be edited to meet the needs of any classroom or text, and provides the flexibility necessary for instructors to scaffold instruction.

Examples of text features include:


ITA- Semantic Feature Analysis

Example

Start My Free Trial

Identifying Main Idea

Identifying the main idea or central idea of a text is a crucial component of reading comprehension and analysis. Developing this skill increases comprehension, increases information retention and prepares students for writing expository essays.

ITA- Summary W/Main Idea

Example

Start My Free Trial

Figure Review

Interpreting the images, charts, graphs, and other figures contained within a text can improve comprehension. The figure review is a great way to preview a text or it can be completed while students read.

ITA - Figure Review

Example

Start My Free Trial

Help Share Storyboard That!

Looking for More?

Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!


All Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans Ed Tech BlogElementary SchoolMiddle School ELAHigh School ELAForeign LanguageSpecial EdUS History and Social StudiesWorld History

Our Posters on ZazzleOur Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers
http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/informational-text-activities
© 2017 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
Want a Free Trial? Learn More about our Educational Edition     Start My Free Trial
Explore Our Articles and Examples

Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class – Search for School-Safe, Creative Commons Photos! (It Even Cites for You!)
Quick Rubric – Easily Make and Share Great Looking Rubrics!
Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Informational Text Structure   •   (Español) Estructura Informativa del Texto   •   (Français) Structure du Texte Informatif   •   (Deutsch) Informationstextstruktur   •   (Italiana) Informativo Struttura Testo   •   (Nederlands) Informatieve Tekst Structuur   •   (Português) Estrutura do Texto Informativo   •   (עברית) מבנה טקסט אינפורמטיבי   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) هيكل النص المعلوماتي   •   (हिन्दी) सूचनात्मक पाठ संरचना   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Структура Информационного Текста   •   (Dansk) Oplysende Tekst Struktur   •   (Svenska) Informativa Text Struktur   •   (Suomi) Asiateksti Rakenne   •   (Norsk) Informativ Tekst Struktur