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Informational Texts

Sep 6, 2022
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Read the following text and choose a description text and a compare and contrast text and write in the space provided. 

Ice-cream is a delicious frozen treat that comes in many different colors and flavors. Two of the most popular flavors are strawberry and chocolate. Though both of these flavors are delicious, strawberry may contain pieces of fruit while chocolate usually will not. Even though more chocolate ice-cream is sold across the country annually than strawberry, each flavor tastes great inside of a milkshake. 

Now choose a description text and a compare and contrast text from the above text and write in the space provided. 

  1. Description: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 
  1. Compare and contrast: 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Features of Informational Text 

  • Non-fiction writing 
  • Written with the intention of giving information to the reader about different topics 
  • May be in many different formats 

Where do we find the informational text? 

It is typically found in magazines, science or history books, encyclopedias, autobiographies, and instruction manuals.  

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Purpose of informational text 

They are written using special text features that allow the reader to,  

  • Easily find key information  
  • Understand the main topic  

What makes the text informational? 

It is important to understand that simply being classified as non-fiction is not enough to make text informational. It is the special text features and a special type of vocabulary that make it informational text.  

The following are the special text features that make informational text:  

  • By providing headers over or for certain sections 
  • By placing important vocabulary in bold type 
  • By using captions for visual representations 

Informational text can be in visual representations in the form of: 

  • Pictures  
  • Infographics that include tables, diagrams, graphs, and charts 
  • A table of contents  
  • A glossary to assist them in finding the information easily 

Resources of informational text 

  • School library  
  • Classroom collection  
  • Public/state library  
  • Online resources  
Elements of informational texts
Structure of informational texts 

The vast majority of texts are written for one or more of these three purposes: 

  1. To make an argument 
  2. To give information 
  3. To tell a story 

There are 5 Text Structures 

To achieve above mentioned purposes, one or more of the following 5 text structures are used by the authors:  

  1. Description/Enumeration 
  2. Sequence/Instruction/Process/Time order 
  3. Cause and effect 
  4. Compare and contrast 
  5. Problem and solution/Question and answers 

How can one fully understand and analyze informational texts? 

One must unpack the above 5 text structures and study their components in order to fully understand and analyze informational texts, whether one is reading textbooks, listening to news articles, or studying the works of literary non-fiction. 

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Let’s discuss each component of the structure in detail: 

1. Description/Enumeration 

This is straightforward. Texts that use this structure simply describe something. A text using this structure might also give information about: 

  • Why something is being described 
  • Why the described topic is important 
  • Provide examples of the described topic(s) 

The descriptive texts are found in (As the entire point of the description is to present information) novels, works of literary non-fiction, news articles, and science textbooks. 

2. Sequence/Instruction/Process/Time order 

This type of informational text covers a few purposes: 

  • Sequential instructions (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3; do this, then do that, and finally do this) 
  • Chronological events (This happened, then this happened, then this happened, etc.) 
  • Arguments that use evidence to support a claim (presenting evidence from least to most convincing) 

Example: Imagine a chocolate cake recipe in which preheating the oven is the last step. Sometimes, it can be confusing and odd.  

Sequence/Instruction/Process/Time order 

3. Cause and Effect 

The purpose of cause-and-effect text structures is to explain, well, causes and effects.  

This type of text structure will encounter complex examples of cause-effect, mostly in historical texts.  

4. Compare/Contrast text structure

This text structure involves a comparison involving multiple things, revealing how they are similar and how they are different. 

Contrasting two or more things doesn’t necessarily mean identifying them as either good or bad. Comparisons simply relay the differences; therefore, one thing could have both positive and negative traits. 

Table

Description automatically generated

5. Problem and Solution/Question and answers 

This text structure involves two parts: 

  1. The author identifies a problem 
  2. The author details a solution to this problem 

Example: This type of structure can be used in article or paragraph writings. A writer could use problem and solution structure for their entire article, or it could be used in a single paragraph.  

Let’s Practice: 

1. Read the following text and choose the correct structure of informational text from the choices that follow. 

Tigers are rapidly disappearing. Some organizations are trying to solve this problem. Otherwise, tigers may one day exist only in zoos. Organizations are trying to save the rainforests and woodlands where the tigers live from being cut down. It will take many people working together to solve this problem. 

  1. Description 
  2. Compare & contrast 
  3. Problem & solution 
  4. Sequential 

Answer: C 

2. Read the following text and choose the correct structure of informational text from the choices that follow. 

A monkey’s body is made for climbing and swinging in the trees. First, it uses its long arms to reach a branch. Next, with its flexible hands and feet, it grabs and hooks onto the branch. Finally, it swings from that branch to another branch of a tree. 

  1. Compare & contrast 
  2. Sequence/Time order 
  3. Descriptive 
  4. Cause & effect 

Answer: B 

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