Text Structures: Problem and Solution

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SWBAT define the Problem and Solution Text Structure.

Big Idea

Continuing the study of Text Structures with a focus on Problem and Solution


This is day five of a four week unit where students will first become familiar with the five Text Structures, then identify each of them in new text, and finally use each of them in their writing.



10 minutes

Connection: I always start by connecting today’s lesson to something kids have previously learned so that it triggers their schema and background knowledge. Since I introduced Text Structures at the beginning of the unit, I start by reminding them that Text Structure refers to how the information within a written text is organized. Then I refer back to the anchor chart that they glued into their Reader’s Notebook (see resource from davisandsloanELA.wikispaces.com).


Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “Today, we will be focusing on the Problem and Solution Text Structure, which tells about a problem then gives one or more possible solutions. Refer back to the anchor chart that they glued in their Reader’s Notebooks and take a closer look at the Problem and Solution section. Point out the picture cue (spilled drink) and ask students how it relates to the Text Structure. They should say that when you spill a drink, it’s a problem, and you need to find a solution, like wiping or mopping it up.  


Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I show them a video called “Ryan Hreljac – Ordinary Kid, Extraordinary Impact” from YouTube. 

I draw two boxes side by side with an arrow going from the first box to the second box. In the first box, I write problem and ask students what the main problem was from the video (people in Uganda didn’t have clean water). In the second box, I write solution and ask them what the solution was (Ryan raised money to build wells). I add their answers into the appropriate boxes as they share.


Link to Ongoing Work: During this portion of the mini-lesson, I give the students a task that they will focus on during Independent Reading time. Now that we’ve focused on the Problem and Solution Text Structure, I tell them that when they are reading today, their job is to identify and write at least one example of it on a sticky note from any of the informational books in their browsing boxes. At the end of Reader’s Workshop, they will place their sticky note in their number “parking spot” on the Post-It Parking Lot and then gather at the carpet to share a few examples. I remind students that I will only share sticky notes that are complete and correct with their name, class number (in case it falls off the parking lot), title of their text, and then their assigned task.


Guided Practice

45 minutes

Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to choose new books (if needed), find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 40 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Reading.  


Guided Practice: Today, I would be conferencing with students right at their comfy spots and asking them to share summaries from the book they are reading. This is also when I could pull students for assessments, one-on-one reading, strategy groups, or guided reading groups. Because this portion of Reader’s Workshop is meant to be flexible and student based, it is not beneficial to plan too far ahead of time. Instead, you should gauge which students may need extra support through the mini-lesson, prior assessments, reading levels, overall ability and need for scaffolding. For Problem and Solution Text Structure support, I will read with specific students, either with their own books or a teacher selected book, and help them identify different Problem and Solution examples.


5 minutes

At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to complete a sticky note with their name, class #, text title, and an example of Problem and Solution. Then I ask them to place it in their designated class # spot on the Post-It Parking Lot. While students are putting their browsing boxes away, I scan the sticky notes to find a few great examples to share. Once students gather at the carpet, I share the complete and correct examples with the class. I then tell them that we will continue our Text Structure work tomorrow. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end.