Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Discourse Strategy Families > Outlining

Outlining is a set of strategies that support the ability to construct or generate an explicit representation of text structure, whether in outline form, or in some other representational mode, including metalinguistic knowledge of the structure and elements of books and metadiscourse knowledge about the structural features of text genres. This class of strategies corresponds in part to Reading Standard 5 from the Common Core State Standards. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 19.

Literature Note - Outlining and Graphic Organizers

Development Table 19. Hypotheses about Development of Outlining Skills

(oral to printed text)
Can recognize the salient structural elements of books and other printed or electronically published materials, including such elements as covers, titles and headings, chapters, indexes, and glossaries.
Can deploy search strategies that take advantage of the structural elements of books (chapters, page numbers, verse or line numbers, tables of contents, and indices); and comparable elements for electronic literature (menus, icons, key words, search tools) to locate particular information or passages of interest.
Is able to produce at least simple oral versions of different genres such as stories and reports that demonstrate awareness of structural differences among different text types.
(printed text to specific genre)
Has mastered the metalinguistic vocabulary for discussing particular genres and their structural elements, including narratives, poetry, drama, and informational text (chapters, verses and stanzas, scenes, description and dialog, etc.).
Can deploy simple strategies to plan or represent text structure, using straightforward organizing tools such as T-charts and lists (e.g., lists of characters, lists of major plot points, lists of reasons or examples).
Is able to describe and discuss the content of a text in terms of the organizational elements natural to that genre (e.g., causal and temporal sequences, comparative or problem/solution structures, general idea and illustration).
(specific genre to structural analysis)
Can build a complex mental representation of the structure of an extended text using both formal and textual cues (on the one hand, paragraph and chapter divisions, titles, headings, tables of content, and the like; and on the other hand, grammatical and semantic cues that indicate main vs. subordinate ideas and define natural connections and groupings).
Can deploy hierarchical or multilevel strategies to plan or represent text structure, using more complex organizing tools such as outlines, tables, idea webs, and the like.
Is able to describe and discuss the content of texts using multiple organizational elements and to organize such discussions hierarchically from general ideas to details.
(structure to rhetorical choice)
Can evaluate the effectiveness of a particular text structure in achieving the author’s purpose in context.
Can generate ways to modify or elaborate on a text structure by rearranging, promoting, or subordinating ideas.
Is able to analyze an author’s choices of particular structural patterns in the light of the author’s purpose and the effects that author intends to produce on an audience.
(rhetorical choice to discourse)
Can evaluate the relative effectiveness of two different text structures if they are intended to present similar content for similar purposes to the same or similar audiences.
Can deploy comparison and revision strategies that depend upon being able to conceptualize different ways of structuring and presenting the same content.
Is able to consider alternate structural choices made by different authors, or by the same author on different occasions, and to discuss and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

Home | About CBAL | Acknowledgments | Contact Us

© 2012 Educational Testing Service. The Common Core State Standards © copyright 2010 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.