The chronological or sequential nonfiction text structure is important for many subjects, as well as for teaching basic sequencing skills. Students must understand the sequence or order of important scientific events, historical events, and natural processes. Students should familiarize themselves with summarizing events and recounting the order of events as a way to ensure comprehension of the subject matter. Practice with sequencing is a useful skill as many textbooks and articles use this format to explain current events, scientific findings, etc. Familiarity with this text structure will also be used on many higher level texts, and state and standardized tests, so this is a meaningful way to include test preparation while also working on building nonfiction reading skills.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:
- Call students to the carpet/front of the room to sit together. Read the short instructional passage “The First Circus”. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner to discuss which nonfiction text structure the passage used. Write the choices: Problem and Solution, Compare and Contrast, Sequence/Chronological Order on the board to offer your students a basis for their answer.
- The correct answer is a Sequence/Chronological Order piece. Ask students to tell you how they came to their answers. Possible suggestions might be that the passage listed events in an order that made sense, starting at the beginning of a process and going through steps to reach an outcome. The first year mentioned is 1763, and the years following are in chronological order. It did not compare or contrast the two items, or offer a problem or solution. So, students could use process of elimination to determine the correct choice.
- Explain that today students will begin learning about nonfiction text structures. Nonfiction topics will always be real and based on fact, not opinion. The structures refer to how the text presents information. List the five different major types of nonfiction text structures on the board, but circle Sequence/Chronological Order: List: cause and effect, compare and contrast, problem and solution, sequence or chronological order, and description. Now describe Sequence/Chronological Order Text Structure on an anchor chart:
|Sequence/Chronological Order Nonfiction Text Structure
|Sequence/Chronological Order Text Structure Characteristics:
The author is explaining steps to a process in order, from beginning to end or first to last.
The author provides may use specific dates or years to show passing of time. These times should go in order.
|Keywords: Dates/years ( in order), first, then, second, next, finally, lastly, after that/this, begins, ends, during, etc. The author will use words that show an order or time line.
|Example: Look at the highlighted keywords: Some flowers are created by a process of cross-breeding. First, the botanist finds two strains of flowers in the same species or closely related species that have positive characteristics he wants to capture. Then, he must collect pollen from a male flower. Next, he must hand-pollinate the female flower with the pollen he collected. After that, the female plant must be kept away from any other plants. At last, when the female plant blooms, the flowers will be a combination of the male and female species.
|Purpose: The information is presented so that the readers can learn the order of events in a process or learn about a scientific or historical event in the order in which they occured.
- Have students work with a partner to read the Activity Page One. Students will actively read by underlining or highlighting key words that help them describe the information. They will then complete a list of key events in sequential order and a summary statement. After all groups are done, create one large list with the whole class, using student responses that they volunteer.
- Students will independently complete the Practice Page and Sequence List.
- After completing independently, have them work with groups of four to check for accuracy. Go to each small group to check in and make sure they are correct.
- Homework: Students will choose an event or process. They will write their own short Sequence/Chronological Order piece. They will have a student classmate partner with them after completing their individual assignment. They will exchange papers and see if they can successfully complete a list of the events in order based on the partner’s paper.
- Students will complete a Quiz.
NOTE: Before you begin each day’s instructional time, it is a good idea to review the anchor chart!
Common Core State Standards:
Class Sessions (45 minutes): 3-4 class sessions
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