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Chronological and Sequential Text Structure

A structure is a building or framework.
Think about the structure or frame work of a house or skyscraper.

An organizational structure of a text is the framework of an informational text.
In other words, how a piece of informational text is built.

An informational text can have many different organizational structures: chronological, cause-effect, comparison-contrast, sequential, and problem-solution.

Chronological Order (chrono = time, logic = order)
Authors use chronological order to explain how things happen in order of time.

While reading an informational text, what can tip us off to let us know the organizational structure is chronological?

The author uses words such as: first, then, last, next, finally, and most importantly, chronological order will more than likely have some sort of reference to time or date!

Example with key words and dates italicized: Through the ages, Pennsylvania has seen many interesting events. The state was founded in 1681 by William Penn. Later, Pennsylvania was the site of important Revolutionary War battles. After that, Pennsylvania was home to new factories during the Industrial Revolution. Today, Pennsylvania continues to make history.

Sequential Order:

Sequential Order lists the steps in a process or event. Usually used in directions, instructions, or to explain processes in nature and society.

How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

•Get materials: bread, peanut butter, jelly.
•Take out the bread.
•Spread peanut butter on the bread with a knife.
•Spread jelly on the bread with a knife.
•Place bread together and enjoy.

Sequential Order does NOT occur at a specific place or time.

If I am telling a story about me tying my shoes, the story is organized chronologically because it happened at a specific time.

If I am telling someone HOW to tie their shoes, then the procedure is organized as a sequence because it is not happening at a specific moment in time.

1. The following passage is written chronologically. Find the key words and leave a comment on this post telling me the key words you spotted that lead you to believe it was written chronologically.

The Age of the Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs existed about 250 million years ago to 65 million years ago. This era is broken up into three periods known as the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The Triassic Period lasted for 35 million years from 250-205 million years ago. Planet Earth was a very different place back then. All the continents were united to form one huge land mass known as Pangaea. The Jurassic Period was the second phase. The continents began shifting apart. The time scale for this famous period is from 205 to 138 million years ago. The Cretaceous Period was the last period of the dinosaurs. It spanned a time from 138 million to about 65 million years ago. In this period the continents fully separated. However, Australia and Antarctica were still united.

2. Why is the following passage an example of sequential order? Your answer should be written in at least one complete sentence.

Creating a Faux Dinosaur Fossil

Materials: plaster of Paris, mixing bowl, large spoon or other mixing utensil, sand paper bowl or cup, objects to fossilize, paint

Look for or collect an object to fossilize. This can be anything from a plastic toy dinosaur to a leaf. Pour about an inch of sand into a paper bowl or cup. Press the object into the sand. Do not bury it. Mix the plaster of Paris according to the manufacturer’s directions. Parents should do this step for their children. Pour the plaster onto the sand. Let it set overnight. Once the plaster has set remove it from the paper bowl or plate. You may need to peel or tear the paper away. Remove or brush off the sand and object to reveal the fossilized imprint. Optional: Paint if desired.

About Matthew Earls

7th Grade Literacy Teacher at Apollo Middle School. Supporter of the one and only Vanderbilt Commodores. Love reading Young Adult Fantasy Literature. Favorite book of all time? A tie between Saul Bellows Sieze the Day and John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series.

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