Major Text Types in the ELA/R TEKS

This resource contains original content from the Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies: Focus on Writing (TALA Writing) professional development. Any handout numbers refer to the original handouts from TALA Writing. This resource also contains other content for using writing and reading to support learning in the content areas with a focus on English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. 

Please feel free to email readandwritetx@texasreading.org with questions or feedback about the online resources.

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This section explores ways to introduce students to different text types. The English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (ELA/R TEKS) for grades 6 through 8 describe four of the major text types commonly used across content areas.

Press play on the video below.

Expository is the most common text type or genre used in science, mathematics, and social studies textbooks and classrooms; literary and narrative texts dominate the English language arts curriculum. However, to enhance content knowledge, students should be introduced to a much wider range of text genres. Content area teachers should include the same variety of texts and materials that experts in their field use such as literary, expository, and persuasive articles and books in both paper and electronic forms. This exposure benefits not only students, but also teachers—teachers begin to change how they read, write, and think about their content.

Locate the Text Types handout from the packet and have it available for use.

Review the common genres and specific types of text starting on page 1 of the handout. Select a text you currently use in your instruction. Using the handout, identify the genre and text type of your selected text.

Next, look closely at the next section of the handout, Common Text Structures. Keep in mind that authors rarely use just one kind of structure or pattern in their writing.

Use the key words in the middle column of this section to identify the text structures within your selected text. Using the examples in the right column as a guide, develop a writing topic or assignment you can use with your students to reinforce or extend content learning. Write it in your teaching journal.

Read the following prompts and jot down your thoughts in your teaching journal.

  • How do you currently teach different text types?
  • Do you prompt students to discuss a text and debate what type of text it is? How do you (or could you begin to) provide these types of opportunities?
  • Why is it important to read and write a variety of text types throughout the year?

One instructional tool that helps content area teachers integrate a variety of texts is the inquiry chart, or I-chart. This strategy promotes critical thinking and integrates different perspectives and information from more than one text or source.

Please locate the Reading Like a Writer: I-Charts and Mentor Texts handout from the packet. Review the handout and plan a lesson that uses an I-chart to do the following:

  1. Incorporate mentor texts to help your students transfer what they learn to their own content area writing
  2. Gather and organize information for an informational essay or research-related project

Write your plan in your teaching journal.

Reading Like a Writer

This section explores an interactive reading and writing strategy called charting. Teaching students to chart helps them to periodically stop and think as they read content area texts. Charting deepens students' understanding of texts and helps students begin to see how writers use language to communicate with readers.

Locate Handout 11: Reading Like a Writer: Charting; Handout 12: Solidarity and Support; and Handout 13: Charting Graphic Organizer. 

Read Handout 11 and the essay on Handout 12.

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In the corresponding column of Handout 13, identify key words and phrases for each paragraph of the “Solidarity and Support” essay.

When you have finished, click play on the video below.

Now, in the next column of Handout 13, summarize the content for the “Solidarity and Support” essay.

When you have finished, click play on the video below.

Finally, complete the last column of Handout 13 for the “Solidarity and Support” essay. A version with sample responses is available in the RELATED ITEMS section below.

Think about the following prompts and jot down your thoughts in your teaching journal.

  • What did you learn about the author’s style or craft from the charting activity?
  • What techniques do you want to try in your own writing?
  • How could you use the charting strategy in your classroom to improve students’ reading and writing? In what ways could you differentiate the strategy for students of different levels?
  • Which texts that you currently use are conducive to charting?
  • How have you used mentor texts as models in your classroom?