• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Organization Overview

Page history last edited by fran toomey 15 years, 1 month ago



Organization shows how the parts of a text (reading) fit together into a coherent conceptual whole.

Organization may be referred to as text structure or


When we talk about organization of a text, we are usually talking about the overall organization of an article or a chapter.   This overall organization provides the “big picture” of the text.

Within an article or chapter, one or more types of organization may be used in a subordinate way to support the overall organization.

In S.P.O.K.E.S., our emphasis is on expository text.  The same basics elements, however, also apply to story text.


The author chooses how to organize the text to

most effectively communicate his/her purpose.   In expository text, the authors don’t just write about a topic: such as, the America Revolution, the Civil War, the Economy, the Digestive system, Rocks, Animals, They have some particular kind of information about the topic that they wish to convey. 

For example, a history writer doesn’t just write about the American Revolution, s/he writes about the major events of the American Revolution or

causes of the American Revolution or

the American Revolution compared to the French Revolution.

A scientist doesn’t just write about Rocks, s/he writes about types of rocks,

uses of rocks,

formation of rocks.

(Refer to the TOSS Game if Played,  If not, play the TOSS Game) (Or create a concept map from common Middle School Topics in subject areas)


*Organization is a major factor in facilitating memory for information.  It gives readers a framework, a template, a schema into which the student can fit the pieces of information.

Having a top down orientation to the information in a text helps the reader to keep tract of where they are, where they have been, and where they are going.

*Organization addresses many of the comprehension problems that teachers have identified, such as:

^doesn’t get the big picture

^only pays attention to details; gets lost in the details

^gets lost as s/he reads longer pieces of text

^can’t retell or summarize the information

^doesn’t see the relationship between/among parts

^forgets the information the next day

^can’t use the information for discussion or in writing.


*In the literature, different authors list different sets of basic types of organization.  (See p 37 in T. M.)

*In SPOKES, we focus on what we believe are the 8 major types of organization in expository text:

(See 8 Types of Main Ideas Chart on pp 42-43 of T. M.)









*For each type of organization, we identify

^signal words (See Chart on Page 38 in T. M.)

^sentence examples (See Examples: Pp 46-47 in T. M.)

^paragraph examples (See Examples, P. 39 in T. M.)


A Dozen Suggestions

*Help students to understand the concept of organization (structure) by identifying organization—and its relationship to purpose or function in a variety of ordinary contexts:

~organization of a house

~organization of a supermarket

~organization of a car

~organization of the body

~organization of tv program

~organization of a debate

(Think of other examples of organization in an ordinary or school context).

*Help students to know that all texts have an overall structure, although not all texts are well structured.

*Remind or have students identify the organization of a story (Somebody-Wanted-But-So, for example)

(Play SWBS Game)

*Have students learn the names of the 8 types of organization used in S.P.O.K.E.S.

(Play Bingo Game)

*Relate the idea of organization to the concept of main idea.

(Read a SPOKES text example, identify the main idea, and then identify the text structure.)

*Identify for students the common types of organization in science, social studies, and math.  Relate to the grade level expectations if appropriate.

*Discuss with students the relationship between purpose and organization.  Form follows function!

*Discuss with students the ways in which textbook authors usually give clues to the type of organization in titles, subtitles, introductory paragraphs, concluding paragraphs, questions embedded in and at the end of a section or chapter or unit.

(Using at least two textbooks, identify purpose and organization in several chapters).

*Work with students to identify (and later create) each type of organization at the sentence level, starting with two types that can be easily discriminated, like definition and process/procedure.   Later add a third type, then a fourth, and so on.

(Do Sentence Level Tasks)

*Work with students to identify (and later create) each types of organization at the paragraph level, then move on to identification in short single-type of organization text selections.

(See Paragraphs Level Examples)

*Then, tackle the idea that a text can have an overall type of organization and subordinate types that  support the overall type of organization, just as details support the main idea. (Identify in Seeds of Revolution Aritcle)

Note that the subordinate types are from the same list of types.  Note that they use these types in writing tasks.

*Use textbooks to illustrate the idea of organization and the relationship between organization and purpose.


1.  Look through the list of O Strategies

O1                          Using a Three Column Graphic for


O2                          Writing a Brief Summary

O3                          Identifying Types of Text Structure

O4                          Summarizing Using Key Questions

O5                          Summarizing Using a Pattern Guide

O6                          Summarizing Using a Graphic Form

O7                          Summarizing Using the Top Down


2.  Choose One.  Talk about it.  Teacher models with a short text example.  Model with a second text example.

3.  Have students try it with an easy text.  Circulate and observe.  Provide scaffolding as necessary.

4.  Share your observation.

5.  Engage them in a discussion about if/how well that particular strategy worked. If it didn’t work ask them why they think it didn’t work.

6.  Have the whole class try a second strategy after you model it with one or two examples.

7.  Talk about the sequence for learning to use a strategy independently. 

8.  Have students look at other strategies and make a commitment to “experiment” with one Organization strategy.

9.  Provide scaffolding for individual students or have students work in pairs or small groups on a specific strategy.

10.  Assess whether/which strategies are working and, when necessary,  analyze why a specific strategy is not working or specific students.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.