5. Synthesizing Information for Presentation

(This is the Learning Episode 5 for Shana Brown (Yakama)’s teaching unit, “A Thousand Celilos: Tribal Place Names along the Lewis and Clark Trail.)

The lesson below is for use at the teacher’s discretion. If you have not taught about the impact of text structure, use this lesson after Episode 2 or 3.

Daily Objective

Students will identify the text structure so that they can see how the structure chosen by the author shapes readers’ opinions.

Learning Target

Readers of nonfiction can identify the structure of their texts and explain how the structure influences how and what they understand.


  • Comparison
  • Cause/Effect
  • Problem/Solution
  • Chronological
  • Question/Answer
  • Narrative
  • Expository

Materials and Mentor Texts

Teaching Method

Model the text structures authors use.

  • Conner: Comparison/Contrast
  • Pinkham: Cause/Effect
  • Lewis and Clark Journals: Chronological
  • Craig: Sequence, Narrative
  • Beavert: Narrative

“Today I want to remind you that authors deliberately use different types of structures to connect the ideas, events, and concepts in their texts. Each author makes the choices that are best for his/her purpose. Paying attention to what structures they have chosen to use can help readers to figure out the author’s purpose for writing the text.”

To begin this work, you might put up two different sections of text and let students think about what the author wanted the reader to know in each section and how the structure that was chosen helped to make the purpose clear.


  • H: Identify the text structures of at least two of your own texts and infer how the structure best suits the author’s purpose.
  • E: As a research group, identify at least two of the texts the group has read.


Weekly Assessment: On demand writing: The sentence from the text that best supports the author’s purpose is…, because…”

Write one main idea from one text. Which detail from the text best supports that idea?

How does the author feel about this topic? Provide at least one example from the selection to support your answer.


Reread your notes from all your texts. Is there certain information that an author leaves out? Why do you think s/he does this?