Text Structure Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Audrey Akins

Audrey has more than a decade of experience teaching elementary. She has a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in education.

When authors write stories, the structure of their story depends on the reason the story is written. Learn about some of the different text structures authors use when they write stories, including compare and contrast, sequencing, and cause and effect.

What Is Text Structure?

Text structure refers to the way a story is arranged when it's written. The arrangement of the story depends on the information that's being shared. Let's learn about some common structures for stories.

Compare and Contrast

One text structure that authors may use when they write a story is compare and contrast. Compare means to tell how two things are alike and contrast means to tell how two things are different. You can use graphics like a Venn diagram to help yourself list all the differences and similarities that you see in two parts of a story that are being compared and contrasted - just put the things that overlap, or the similarities, in the middle, and the differences on the outside.

A Venn diagram can help you compare and contrast.

When a story has a compare and contrast text structure, it has signal words in it such as alike, similar, and both. These words signal how the two things compare. Other signal words in this type of text structure are different, however, whereas, and on the other hand. These words signal how the two things are different.


Sequencing is a text structure that authors use to tell stories in order. They may use transition words such as first, next, then, and finally, or ordinal words such as first, second, third, and fourth. Passages written with this text structure can sometimes tell a story in the order that an event has taken place, tell the steps to make something, or describe the life story of someone from childhood to death.

For example, you might have a story that says, first we arrived at the hotel. Next we unpacked our clothes and took a nap. Then after our nap we went to have dinner, saw a movie, and went for a walk on the beach. Finally we returned to our hotel, took a bath, and went to bed.

Cause and Effect

Another type of text structure authors use when writing stories is cause and effect. Cause and effect describes the reasons for why something happens. More specifically, the reason for something happening is the cause and what actually happens is the effect.

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