Non-Fiction Text Organization

Non-Fiction text is organized differently than fiction texts. Understanding the difference between how the two are organized can help you understand more about what you are reading.

Non-Fiction texts have different features than fiction texts. Some of the features that can be found in non-fiction text are:

  • Captions
  • Headings
  • Photographs
  • Diagrams
  • Graphs
  • Charts & Tables
  • Maps
  • Subheadings
  • Bold Words
  • Glossaries
  • Indexes

Along with these features, non-fiction text is also organized in several different ways. Each type of structure has some key words that will help you to identify which type of text you are reading. Once you determine how the text you are reading is organized, you can decide which ideas are most important.

Compare/Contrast: Two or more topics or ideas are presented showing how they are alike or different.

·      Key/Signal Words: On the other hand, however, other, difference, differently, and yet, similar to, like (and unlike), same as, different from, but, while, rather, most, either…or, opposed to, opposites, neither…nor, least

Description/Listing: Information is offered about a topic, etc. by describing attributes, features, facts, details, traits, and characteristics.

·       Key/Signal Words: For example, look at, such as, some characteristics are, like…as, by observing, includes, for instance

Problem/Solution: Problems are identified and one or more solutions are suggested.

·       Key/Signal Words: One reason is, a solution, a problem, solved by, outcome is, issues are, propose, conclude, research shows, the evidence is, the question is…

Cause/Effect: Events and actions are presented and described by explaining reasons and/or consequences for them.

·       Key/Signal Words: Since, because, therefore, this led to, due to, so that, for this reason, consequently, as a result, thus, nevertheless, if…then, then, so, in fact…

Sequence or Chronological Order: Information is presented in the order in which it happened.

·       Key/Signal Words: First, second, before, after, finally, then, next, earlier, later, last, until, now, on (date), on (time)

Question/Answer: A question is asked about a topic and an answer is given.

·       Key/Signal Words: How, why, when, who, what, how many, where, it could be that

Katie Hartman,
Jun 28, 2011, 12:47 PM