Individual differences in children's knowledge of expository text structures: A review of literature

Melissa N. Ray, Bonnie J.F. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In this review of literature we examine empirical research of individual differences in younger readers' knowledge and use of expository text structures. The goal of this review is to explore the influence of reader and text characteristics in order to better understand the instructional needs of elementary school readers. First we review research which has examined the influence of two textual characteristics: the hierarchical organization of macro-and micro-level propositions and the type of text structure (e.g. collection, comparison, problem-and-solution). Then we review research of three reader characteristics: overall comprehension skill, age, and prior knowledge and how their influences may vary in relation to the aforementioned text characteristics. Our review of research suggests that readers of all ages may benefit from explicit instruction in text structure, particularly less-skilled comprehenders. Text structure instruction should focus on highly structured texts like comparison, causation, and problem-and-solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Electronic Journal of Elementary Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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