Five types of expository text structures

Research on types of structures of expository texts evolved from research on academic reading and writing. At first, its intended focus was on teaching elementary school students how to use them, and later evolved to highschool and college student populations. Bonnie J.F. Meyer was among the first ones analysing the influence of text structuredness on memory and comprehension. Thirty years ago, she came to the conclusion that some text structures make the content easier to comprehend and the information provided by a text structured that way is then remembered more easily – those “powerful” text structures were: compare and contrast, cause and effect, and problem and solution. The two structures which Meyer identified as much less efficient were description and sequence. Meyer and her colleagues then specified the so called “signal words” which help connecting the text parts into a structured whole. We decided to translate the instructions used in workshops with teachers and students (in the form used by Key Wijekumar, Meyer’s colleague) to facilitate the access to this piece of information to Croatian teachers teaching any subject. Also, for those of them who would like to know more about this subject, we recommend some literature where more information is available (both on text structures and on some of the interventions done so far):

Meyer, B. J. F., & Poon, L. W. (2001). Effects of structure strategy training and signaling on recall of text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 141–159.

Schwartz, Ana Isabel, Laura Mendoza & Bonnie J. F. Meyer (2013).  The impact of text structure reading strategy instruction in a secondlanguage: benefits across languages, The Language Learning Journal, DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2013.837092

Kausalai (Kay) Wijekumar, Bonnie J. F. Meyer, Puiwa Lei (2017). Web-Based Text Structure Strategy Instruction Improves Seventh Graders’ Content Area Reading Comprehension, Journal of Educational Psychology,

The examples of five expository text structures can be found here in Croatian language, together with some examples of elementary school textbook texts re-written to fit one of the “more powerful” structures (also in Croatian language.)


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