The Writing Rope: Text Structure

Text structure refers to the way in which authors organize their writing. The structure an author uses depends on both the text type and purpose. It’s important for students to learn these different text structures and be able to apply them appropriately to their own writing.

Types of Text Structure

The way authors structure text depends on its purpose. Below are the most common text structures.


Narrative writing is tells a story. Whether the story is completely fictional or based on the author’s real experiences, this type of writing always follows the same general text structure, also known as a story arc. The story arc begins with an exposition, in which the author provides necessary information like setting and character description, and background information the reader will need. After an adequate exposition, the author introduces the problem. Once the author builds up to the climax of the story, the next step is to head toward the resolution. Finally, the story is concluded their story by tying up any loose ends in the denouement. Many narratives have a lesson, moral, or theme, which usually becomes apparent to the reader at the end of the story.


Authors use sequential text structure for writing that contains information that they present in a specific order. This kind of writing includes steps in a process or chronology of events that took place. Narrative writing can follow the story arc described above and also have a sequential text structure.

Cause and Effect

Some texts are structured using cause and effect. This is when authors present an event and detail the consequences, or effects, of that event. They explain the reason(s) something might have occurred or the outcome of something.

Problem and Solution

As the name suggests, this text structure describes a problem and presents possible solutions. Although the narrative story arc contains a problem and a solution, this specific text structure, when used in isolation, applies to informational text.

Compare and Contrast

Text that uses compare and contrast structure explores the similarities and differences between two or more topics. Generally, each topic is described first. Similarities are presented next, followed by differences.


Finally, when authors use persuasive text structure, they present a view or opinion and reasons to support it. Depending on the length of the text, a good rule of thumb is to include three distinct reasons that support the author’s argument, and details to go with each reason. Authors will often include a counter-argument and their rebuttal in order to strengthen their position, and further persuade their reader of whatever it is they are trying to convey.

Writing Rope FAQ

What is the Writing Rope?

The Writing Rope is a tool to help students identify and apply different text structures. Students learn about common text structures, practice recognizing them in various texts, and then use these skills to structure their own writing.

Why is it important for students to understand text structure?

Understanding text structure allows students to better understand how different pieces of a written work are connected and helps them develop the analytical thinking skills needed to effectively interpret written works. For authors, understanding text structures enables them to craft their writing in ways that will be meaningful and persuasive for their readers. It also helps ensure that the author’s message is clearly communicated.

What are the different types of text structure?

The most common text structures are narrative, sequential, cause and effect, problem and solution, compare and contrast, and persuasive. Each type of text structure has its own purpose, so it is important for students to understand what each one requires in order to use them effectively.

How do you identify text structure?

One way to identify text structure is by looking for cues that indicate the type of structure being used. Narratives typically involve characters, setting, and plot. Sequential texts include a step-by-step process or chronological order of events. Cause and effect texts explain why something happened or the outcome of an event. Problem and solution texts address a problem and present possible solutions. Compare and contrast texts explore similarities and differences between two or more topics, while persuasive texts present an opinion with supporting evidence.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get updates to new articles, promotions and more!