Lesson: Reading Comprehension: Author's Purpose: Text Structures 6

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a cause/effect organization. Authors use this organization when they want to explain how one thing causes another. You can outline this organization on a chain.

Lesson Plan

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Day 6:


  • Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: chronological, descriptive (topic and supporting details), compare and contrast, problem and solution, cause and effect, question and answer. [ELA.8e.4]


  • Determine the purposes of lines, sentences, paragraphs and sections and how they contribute to the text as a whole. [ELA.4l.6]


  • Recognize when comprehension breaks down and employ strategies to maximize comprehension. [ELA.4g.5]

Big Idea:

Readers can use the structure of a text to determine its purpose

Teaching Point: Some texts have a cause/effect  organization. Authors use this organization when they want to explain how one thing causes another.  You can outline this organization on a chain.



reading binders, pencils, “Forced Removal?” anchor chart (see end of lesson)



  • Readers, we began this unit by studying non-fiction texts that are organized sequentially. Then we reviewed the features of descriptive texts. After that, we reviewed a text with a problem/solution organization. Yesterday, we studied a text that followed a compare/contrast organization. Today, we are going to review the features of a text that follows a cause/effect structure. What cause/effect texts did we read last year? (They should all mention One Hen)
  • A cause/effect organization is similar to a sequence because things have to go in order, but it is a little different because the focus is more on how something can make something else happen.  And because it is like a sequence, the outlines look similar.  They look like a chain.
  • Today I am going to read an article to you. I am telling you that this is a cause/effect organization so you know that the main idea is going to be about how one thing causes something else.  Just from the title, the captions and the pictures, you should be able to predict what is causing other things to happen. Turn and talk with your partner about what you think the main idea will be. Yes, it seems like the main idea is: “The arrival of the white Europeans caused many problems for the native Indian populations.” Let’s write this at the top of our chain.
  • Today, as I read, I want you to stop me anytime you think I should add something to the chain. (At the end the chain should look something like the one below):


The Europeans took most of the Cherokees’ land when they arrived. The Cherokees were forced to settle on a small part of land in Georgia.


The Indian Removal Act ordered Cherokees leave white territories.


White diseases killed thousands of Indians.


In 1838, army troops forced the Cherokees to walk 1200 miles from Georgia to Oklahoma.


While traveling along the “Trail of Tears”, ¼ of the population died.


Years later, whites pushed the Indians even further west.


Some groups of Indians tried to fight back, but in the end they lost the battle and were forced to live on small reservations.


  • So why was this text a cause/effect organization?  What is the main idea of this text?  T&T.  [The forced removal of the native Indians caused them to lose much of their land and also caused their populations to decline].  This article had to be organized by cause and effect because the point of the text was to teach the reader about how the arrival of the Europeans caused problems for the native Indians.
  • So readers, tell your partner why an author would use a cause and effect organization.  [Make sure everyone knows that it is used when the author wants to teach the reader how one thing causes other things to happen.]
  • Share: Share what you think the organizational structure of your book is.


  • 20 minutes after students read, quickly do the share and then practice writing the reading response together. Remind them to:


  • Date the entry in the top right corner
  • Write the title of the article in the middle of the margin
  • Write the question at the top of the next line.
  • Skip a line between the question and the answer.
  • Indent every new paragraph.
  • Use specific quotes from text to support the topic sentence.
  • Use elaboration to explain why each quote is important. 




(order matters)

  • Small Steps,
  • Cod
  • Turn of the Century
  • Thank You, Sarah
  • most biographies
  • Duel


(one topic supported by many details)

  • “New Dinosaurs: Wild, Wonderful, and Way Weird!”


  • “Invasion of the Vines”
  • “World Hunger”


(Venn Diagram or t-chart)

  • “Lizard or Bird?”
  • “How are boys and girls different?”



  • One Hen
  • “Forced Removal”











Readers identify a non-fiction text’s structure in order to set a purpose and monitor comprehension. Some texts have a cause/effect  organization.



Reading Response

“Forced Removal”


Explain the effects that white settlers had on the Cherokee population in the 1800s. 

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