The two basic types of texts are narrative and expository.  The main purpose of narrative text is to tell a story.  Narrative text has beginning, middle and end, characters, plot or conflict, and setting.  Usually, narrative texts are written from the authors imagination.   The main purpose of expository text is to inform or describe.  Authors who write expository texts research the topic to gain information.  The information is organized in a logical and interesting manner using various expository text structures.  The most common expository text structures include description, enumerative or listing, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect and problem and solution


Primary Sources:  Lewis and Clark Journals

*      Primary sources:  http://www.campusschool.dsu.edu/lofti/primary.htm

*      Follow in the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark http://www.sierraclub.org/lewisandclark/


Descriptive:  This includes main idea and detail such as the following

    "..... in my walk I Killed a Buck Goat of this Countrey, about the hight of the Grown Deer, its body Shorter the Horns which is not very hard and forks 2/3 up one prong Short the other round & Sharp arched, and is imediately above its Eyes the Colour is a light gray with black behind its ears down its neck, and its face white round its neck, its Sides and rump round its tail which is Short & white: Verry actively made, has only a pair of hoofs to each foot, his brains on the back of his head, his Norstrals large, his eyes like a Sheep he is more like the Antilope or Gazella of Africa than any other Species of Goat."  Lewis and Clark As Naturalists


Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Salmon was the key resource.  Before the Columbia River was dammed during the twentieth century, countless salmon struggled up the river every year to spawn in the rivers and streams that feed the Columbia.  Page 75 - 77.




Enumerative/listing:  This includes listing connected information, outlining a series of steps, or placing ideas in a hierarchy, such as the following:

By early 1803 Lewis was in Philadelphia. He took crash courses in medicine, botany, zoology, and celestial observation. He studied maps and journals of traders and trappers who had already reached as far up the Missouri River as the Mandan villages in North Dakota. By the time he left Washington he knew as much about the West, and what to do when he got there, as any man in AmericaLewis and Clark:  Preparations


Lewis and Clark, Andrew Santella

As they continued on the Missouri, the explorers came to a part of the river that was flanked by 300 foot (91 - m) high bluffs.  The bluffs were sculpted by wind, rain, and snow into wonderful shapes.  Farther down the river ..... Page 32 - 33



Signal / Cue Words

the following











several some







Sequence: This includes a series of events leading up to a conclusion, or the sequence of occurrences related to a particular happening.  Note that the events can be separated in years as in a historical time line; or in a series of actions taking only a few seconds, hours, days.  Such is the example below.  Both enumerative and sequential text organization is basic to completing a set of directions to perform a task either in a laboratory of work setting.

January 18, 1803 - In secret communication to Congress, Jefferson seeks authorization for expedition – first official exploration of unknown spaces undertaken by United States government. Appropriation of $2,500 requested. (Final cost will be $38,000.)

Spring - Lewis, now picked as commander, is sent to Philadelphia for instruction in botany, zoology, celestial navigation, medicine from nation’s leading scientists. Also begins buying supplies to outfit the expedition. Lewis writes to former army comrade, William Clark, inviting him to share command of expedition. Clark writes to accept. 

July 4 - News of Louisiana Purchase announced. For $15 million, Jefferson more than doubles the size of United States: 820,000 square miles for 3 cents an acre. The next day, Lewis leaves Washington.  Timeline of the Trip


Plants on the Trail with Lewis and Clark, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

The quality of Lewis's surviving plant specimens is amazing, considering their age and the difficult conditions on the trail.   Preparing and preserving plants is a time-consuming and demanding process.  A specimen has to be spread out properly, then  pressed between two sheets of blotting paper.  The paper soaks up the moisture from the specimen, drying it out.  The specimen  must be removed, aired, and placed between fresh sheets until it is completely dry, so it won't rot.  There were times when   Lewis had to deal with a large number of plants all at once.  While he stayed with the Nez Prece Indians, for example, he had  between thirty and fifty specimens to tend to every day. Page 22-23.


Signal / Cue Words

first                   next

second             until

third                 while

last                   soon

then                  after

at that time        now

during               immediately


A timeline is another good way to present this information.

Graphic Map http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/graphicmap/

Timeline Tutorial http://www.microsoft.com/Education/TimelinesWord.aspx

Timeline Maker http://teachers.teach-nology.com/web_tools/materials/timelines/

Online Timelines (Alterna Time) http://www2.canisius.edu/~emeryg/time.html


Comparison/Contrast: This involves describing how two or more events, places, characters, or other ideas are similar and .or different in several ways.  Comparing several habitats or eco-systems is one example of this type.


In temperament Lewis and Clark were opposites. Lewis was introverted, melancholic, and moody; Clark, extroverted, even-tempered and gregarious. The better educated and more refined Lewis, who possessed a philosophical, romantic and speculative mind, was at home with abstract ideas; Clark, of a pragmatic mold, was more of a practical man of action. Each supplied vital qualities which balanced their partnership.  Biography of Lewis and Clark  


Animals on the Train with Lewis and Clark, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent    

Lewis hadn't known that western mountains were so different from those in the East.  Back there, mountains weren't so  steep and rugged, and they consisted of just a single range.  Western mountains went on and on, range after range.  Page 68


Signal / Cue Words

however           even though

but                   on the contrary

yet                    otherwise

despite             in comparison

still                   on the other hand


Cause/Effect:  This may involve several reasons why an event occurred, or several effects from on cause, and of course, as single cause/effects situation.

Captain Clarke and some of our men in a periogue went ashore with them; but the Indians did not seem disposed to permit  their return They said they were poor and wished to keep the periogue with them. Captain Clarke insisted on coming to the boat; but they refused to let him, and said they had soldiers as well as he had. He told them his soldiers were good, and that he  had more medicine on board his boat than would kill twenty such nations in one day. After this they did not threaten any more,  and said they only wanted us to stop at their lodge, that the women and children might see the boat.  The Journals:  September 25, 1804, Patrick Gass


Lewis and Clark, Andrew Santella

Lewis and Clark knew from the Shoshone that their trail would take them over some of the roughest terrain in the RockiesBy August 26, temperatures had fallen to the freezing mark.  Fallen timber blocked their trail.  The party scrambled up steep slopes and down deep gorges.  When they reached a high vantage point, they could see nothing but more snow-covered mountains in every direction.  Food supplies dwindled......Page 36 - 38


Signal / Cue Words


for this reason   thus

in order to        as a result

because            consequently

so that              on account of

therefore           accordingly


Problem and Solution:  Authors use this technique to identify the problem, give possible solutions with possible results and finally, the solution that was chosen. 

On June second they arrived at a major fork in the river, in north-central Montana, an estimated 465 river miles upstream from the mouth of the Yellowstone. It shouldn't have been there. No Indian informant had mentioned it. There was not even a hint of it from anybody. Yet it posed the most significant geographical question of the entire Expedition. Which of these rivers was the Missouri?  The issue was fraught with danger. They needed to reach the Rockies, find the Shoshoni Indians, get some horses, portage to the head of the Columbia, and reach the Pacific before winter closed in.  To choose the wrong route would consume twice the time it would take to correct the mistake, and would, Lewis declared, not only lose them the whole of the present travel season, but "would probably so dishearten the party that it might defeat the expedition altogether."   Decision at the Marias 


The Truth about Sacajawea, Keneth Thomasma

If he is unable to secure horses and a guide, Captain Lewis knows he may have to turn back.  Page 54 - 60


   Signal / Cue Words

   as a result
   so that




Vocabulary Development

Alphabet Organizer http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/alphabet/

Vocabulary Self Collection Strategy


During or after read, students select 2-3 key vocabulary words.  Students need to be ready to say:

*      what the word is

*      what the word means according to context

*      why the word is important to the study of the topic



word used in sentence from reading


word used in
original sentence





The explorers traveled some of the way in pirogues - large flat-bottomed rowboats.  page 18
Lewis and Clark, Andrew Santella


The men took turns paddling the large wood pirogue.




Picture LES DIFFÉRENTES SORTES DE BATEAU AU FIL DU TEMPS http://www.momes.net/dictionnaire/b/bateaux/bateaux.html
retrieved June 16, 2004


Graphic Organizers

Education Place http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/

Index of Graphic Organizers http://www.graphic.org/goindex.html

SCORE http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/actbank/torganiz.htm

Graphic Organizer Makers http://teachers.teach-nology.com/web_tools/graphic_org/

Write Design Graphic Organizers http://www.writedesignonline.com/organizers/

Graphic Organizers http://www.enchantedlearning.com/graphicorganizers/biography/index.shtml (need to be a member)



Retellings are oral or written post reading recalls during which children relate what they remembers from reading or listening to a particular text.  Unlike a summary, a retelling is a holistic representation of student understanding rather than just recapping the main points. 


Phase 1:  Teacher models retelling

Step 1:  Before reading:  develop a link to students prior knowledge, brainstorm, provide props

Step 2:  During reading:  point out text structure, signal / cue words, table of contents, visuals, vocabulary;  make a graphic organizer

New, Knew, Q (question) by Linda Gambrell

as students read, have them use the NKQ technique developed by Linda Gambrell.  Students put a N in the margin next to things that are new to them from this reading, a K in the margin next to things that they knew before they started reading and a Q next to the things they don't understand or have questions about. 

Step 3:  After reading:  retell the text as completely a possible using the signal / cue words, ask students to fill in missing pieces

Using the margin notes, have students share the following answers with a partner:

1. What was the most important thing that they already knew?
2. What is something, I learned that was new?
3. Which questions do you have?


They could also complete an article frame:

I learned many things about _______.
I already knew that _______________.
But I learned ____________________.
I also learned ___________________.

Upper grades
But the most important thing I learned _______________.

Step 4:  Model "embellished" retellings by including analogies, personal anecdotes and imagery (making the text your own is not only acceptable but desirable, Wood and Jones, 1998)

Phase 2:  Students practice retelling

Step 1:  Involve students in prereading activities, creating a graphic organizer during reading, list new vocabulary and/or signal or cue words

Step 2:  Record what students remember on a chart, provide scaffolds and prompts to help them recall information

Step 3:  Reread the selection, identifying information missed during step 2, record new information

Step 4:  Encourage students to make personal connections between their lives and the text




Based on the research by Nancy Livingston, Brigham Young University

The Reading Teacher May 2004 Teaching expository text structures through information trade book retellings. Barbar Moss 710-718

Linda Gambrell On the Road to Reading http://www.ed.gov/pubs/RoadtoRead/part3a.html June 15, 2004

Reading Online:  Comprehension Strategies http://www.readingonline.org/articles/handbook/pressley/ June 15, 2004