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Content Frame

A Content Frame is a visual representation (an outline) of the content of a reading selection. This tool helps students uncover the organization of a text document, to divide the document into its component sections, and to perceive the relationships between these sections (how the sections combine to form the single narrative of the document). This strategy works best with documents that are highly structured and that provide clear indicators of this structure in the text.

This strategy teaches students to look for obvious visual clues to a reading's organization: headings, subheadings, introductions, summaries, and topic sentences. Students learn to "extract" the outline (content frame) of the document by piecing together these visual clues.

Steps to Content Frames:

  1. Read a selected text aloud with the class. Ask students to interrupt the process whenever they confront an organizational clue.

  2. Write the suggested clues to the side of the chalkboard. Continue this process until the reading is complete.

  3. Have students discuss the suggested organizational clues, eliminating the unnecessary and refining the rest to better reflect the author's intention and structure.

  4. Complete the exercise by migrating the refined list of structural clues into a "content frame" or document outline. Write this final outline in the center of the chalkboard.

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