The Effects of Text Structure Instruction on Expository Reading Comprehension: A Meta-Analysis

Michael Hebert, Janet J. Bohaty, J. Ron Nelson, Jessica Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


In this meta-analysis of 45 studies involving students in Grades 2-12, the authors present evidence on the effects of text structure instruction on the expository reading comprehension of students. The metaanalysis was deigned to answer 2 sets of questions. The first set of questions examined the effectiveness of text structure instruction on proximal measures of comprehension, including examination of potential moderators and effectiveness for students with or at-risk for disabilities. The second set of questions examined the effectiveness on transfer measures of the effectiveness of the intervention across temporal contexts (maintenance), near-contexts (untaught text structures), and far-contexts (general reading comprehension). Overall, the results indicated that text structure instruction improves expository reading comprehension, but the effects were tempered when text structure instruction was compared with stronger comparison groups. The findings also identified 2 moderators that led to increased effect sizes (teaching more text structures and including writing in the instruction). Text structure instruction was also found to be effective across all 3 levels of transfer, although the effects for far-transfer are small and lack consistency. Recommendations include conducting more research to understand the nuances of potential interactions between various instructional approaches and student populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-629
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Expository text
  • Informational text
  • Meta-analysis
  • Reading comprehension
  • Text structure


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