Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Chronological Order: Reading Comprehension Review Study Guide

By
Updated on Aug 24, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Chronological Order: Reading Comprehension Review Practice Exercises

The more you understand about why writers do things, the more you get out of what you read. It'll become easier to understand what a writer's trying to communicate once you know why he or she has chosen to use one text structure over another.

FUEL FOR THOUGHT

CHRONOLOGICAL MEANS RELATING to, or arranged in, time order or sequence.

First, let's talk about chronological order text structure, and then we'll go over some text to practice. A text in chronological order tells a story in sequence. The first thing that happens is told first, and the last thing that happens is told last. Sometimes writers use words that signal the order, such as first, next, then, last, now, and finally. Other times you have to figure out the order from the events themselves. For example, you couldn't leave a party until after you've arrived there, and you have to start your homework before you can finish it!

Check out the first two sentences of the preceding paragraph for an example of writing in chronological order. Here are the two events listed:

    Talk about chronological order
      and
    Go over some text to practice

As you can see, the first sentence told what would occur first and the second sentence told what would occur second.

Not everything's written in chronological order, but a lot of writing is. Think of directions or instructions. They begin by telling you what to do first and end by telling you what to do last. Travel directions tell you where to start and where you will end. Instructions for putting together a bookcase tell you which pieces to assemble first and end with what the finished bookcase will look like! As far as instructions and directions go, chronological structure is the most effective way of conveying information to the reader.

FUEL FOR THOUGHT

YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD the expression, "I'm having a flashback." In a story or piece of writing, a flashback is an interruption telling you something that happened before that point in the story.

PACE YOURSELF

MAKE A CHRONOLOGICAL list of everything you've done today.

HOW TO SPOT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

So, how do you tell if something's written in chronological order? Read to see if

  • the passage contains time-order clue words
  • events are listed in the order in which they occurred

Let's look at another passage that uses the chronological-order text structure.

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before you start, look over the list of ingredients, and make sure you have everything you need to make the cookies. Once you're sure you have everything you need, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then measure out the flour, baking soda, and salt, and put them in a bowl. Set that bowl aside, and in a separate bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Next, slowly add the dry ingredients into all the other ingredients, a little bit at a time. After all the dry ingredients are incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Then, use a spoon to drop small piles of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving enough space between the piles for the dough to spread out. Finally, bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes or until golden.

INSIDE TRACK

TRY MAKING A list as you read the events mentioned in the passage. The list will help you visualize the order in which things should be done.

Let's assume you've never made chocolate chip cookies before. Then you probably wouldn't know that chocolate chips are folded in after the other ingredients are mixed. So we'll rely on your powers of observation.

PACE YOURSELF

USE YOUR POWERS of observation to count the number of blue objects in the room you're in at this moment.

What words in the recipe seem like clues to the order of the steps for making cookies? Here's the passage again, with some of those words underlined:

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before you start, look over the list of ingredients, and make sure you have everything you need to make the cookies. After you're sure you have everything you need, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then measure out the flour, baking soda, and salt, and put them in a bowl. Set that bowl aside, and then in a separate bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Next, slowly add the dry ingredients into all the other ingredients, a little bit at a time. After all the dry ingredients are incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Then, use a spoon to drop small piles of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving enough space between the piles for the dough to spread out. Finally, bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes or until golden.

Notice that all the words underlined are transitional words that indicate the order in which things are supposed to occur. These words make the paragraph cohesive and are often used in chronological-order text structure. Here's a list of words and phrases to look for:

first soon now
second after before
third next during
while then meanwhile
when in the meantime finally
as soon as at last eventually
immediately suddenly prior to

CAUTION!

DON'T RELY SOLELY on clue words and phrases. Make sure you read the words in context.
View Full Article
Add your own comment

Ask a Question

Have questions about this article or topic? Ask
Ask
150 Characters allowed