Top Level Structures

... cognitive frameworks which help readers and writers sort and categorise information


Top-Level Structures (T.L.S.) are cognitive frameworks which help readers and writers sort and categorise information. They are frameworks for organising ideas to make them easier to understand and identify relationships between and across ideas or elements. This supports readers and writers to integrate and synthesise new or less familiar ideas with existing knowledge, understandings, and beliefs.

In reading and viewing, top-level structures help readers to make sense of an author's ideas. The ability to recognise and apply these structures when note-taking in reading has been shown to improve memory of facts and details, ability to track main ideas, deepen comprehension and note-take more effectively.

In writing, knowledge of the structures supports writers to make notes, categorise content, recognise content deficiencies, plan more effectively and create more coherent, cohesive texts.

In this two hour presentation, Teachers will learn it is important for students to recognise and recall the five most common top-level structures which occur predominantly across school-based texts:

  • Sequence
  • Cause and effect
  • Compare and contrast
  • List or description
  • Problem and solution

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The Top Level Structures video presentation is suitable for Teachers of years 2-6.