Introduction to Patterns of Organization


To read with comprehension, you need to understand how a piece of writing is organized. By identifying the structure of what you read, you will better understand the relationship of its parts—whether it’s an article, an essay, or a chapter in a textbook.

Very commonly, writers organize their ideas according to predictable patterns. Recognizing these patterns will help you follow the ideas in what you read. Writers use the following typical patterns of organization, which are also called modes:

Writers often use more than one of these patterns in their work. Mixing the patterns provides more ways for readers to understand a subject. By carefully observing these organizational patterns—whether they are used separately or are mixed—you can make connections among the details the author includes to increase your comprehension of what you read.


This video explains each pattern by listing common words and providing an example thesis.

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The study pages include practice activities with short passages. As read you through the study pages and practice with LearningCurve before taking the post-test, look for the key words to help you identify the pattern of organization.

Don’t forget to work smartly!