Text Types

Students need to use different types of information sources to prepare for class or do an assignment.

When we’re researching a topic online out of personal interest, we’re going to find all kinds of different readings (texts) about it.

Being able to rapidly recognize what type of text we’re dealing with saves time and gives a sense of control. It helps us make that first decision about whether to keep reading the text we just found.

Different types of non-fiction texts each use features that distinguish them from each other.

Some of the features stand out: think section headings, quotes that are enlarged, a list of references, for example. Others don’t stand out visually. Instead they follow a typical pattern, like news articles typically do.

When we become familiar with these different features, we know two things right away:

  1. What quality of information we can expect from the text
  2. Where that information is likely to be in the text

Knowing both saves us time when reading. We read better texts and find what we want faster.

Photo credit: "Paper pile" by Sebastien Wiertz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0