Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Main Idea: Descriptive (Lesson 10)

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a descriptive organization. Authors use this structure when their main idea is just about describing something (this might even be an all-about book with a topic and no main idea).

Lesson Plan

Lesson 10: (Continued from Lesson 9)

Standard: Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: main idea and supporting examples (web), chronological order (chain), compare and contrast (T-chart), cause and effect (chain), problem/solution (T-chart).

Use text structure to identify the main idea and supporting details in articles. 


Big Idea:  Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.   


Teaching Point: Some texts have a descriptive organization.  Authors use this structure when their main idea is just about describing something.

You can outline this structure in a web.


RW: Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of “Fear on the Brain”  

RA: Reading binders, Animal Defenses


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • [Orally quiz on the organizational structures that we have learned.]
  • Today we are going to continue working on the descriptive organization.  We are going to re-read the article “Fear on the Brain” and find the evidence that answers this question. [put up OR question]
  • How many parts? [Two – the question is asking about both people and animals.]
  • [Re-read, highlighting and labeling each piece of evidence “P” for people and “A” for animals]
  • Scholars, as a class we have gotten really good at finding specific details for our open responses.  I’m going to show you how we can make sure that every detail we’ve highlighted ends up in our paragraph. [As a class, write OR. Make sure that every highlighted detail is included by checking off each piece of evidence as you include it.] Scholars, in your open responses, remember to go back and find every detail that supports your thinking and make sure that it ends up in the open response.
  • Today you are going to continue making outlines of your non-fiction texts.
  • [Share – meet in partners and show your partner your outline.]

Read Aloud Lesson:

  • Scholars, in read aloud today we are going to continue reading and outlining Animal Defenses .
  • Someone remind me what type of organizational structure this book has and why. [Call on a student to explain that it’s descriptive because the author has a main idea that wants to describe something.] How do we outline descriptive texts? [A web – main idea in the middle and most important details go around the circle – order doesn’t matter]
  • Finish the book. After each section, talk about what the most important detail from that section was and add it to the web.
  • Readers, tell your partner why the author of this book used a descriptive organization. [T&T]

Lesson Resources

Lesson 10 Non-fiction Chart and Open Response.docx  


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