Features in expository texts.
Williams, Azjah M.
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SubjectEnglish language -- Dialects -- Texts.; Exposition (Rhetoric).; Rhetoric -- Study and teaching.
Although the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for expository texts call for Kindergarten to grade 12 students to know and use various text features of expository texts, beyond the few given examples listed in the Standards, the concept of “text features” remains vague and undefined. This lack of clarity creates the problem of how students could be taught to distinguish between features when the features themselves are not well defined. One question that addresses this problem is, what definition of text features can be determined from an examination of the varieties of text features embedded in expository texts of various formats, and what are some research-based instructional approaches for teaching those features? To answer the question, a synthesis of existing research on text features and their instruction was conducted. One major finding is the resulting extensive categorized list of features of expository texts grouped into the two categories of visual and non-visual features. Another finding is that these various features each have a specific role in expository texts as related to the text genre. The synthesis also finds that various features have an impact on the reader, and a reader’s prior knowledge of the text features appears to impact a reader’s usage of the features to make meaning from expository texts. As for instructional methods, this synthesis finds that direct instruction on the features of expository texts (separate from instruction on the content of texts) appears likely to have a positive impact on a reader’s close reading and comprehension of expository texts. The relationship between knowledge of text features for reading and the use of text features when writing expository texts supports the instructional method of explicit writing of features in expository texts as the most appropriate instructional approach for teaching students to distinguish between the various features of expository texts.
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