The Common Core State Standards in English language arts emphasize developing students' abilities to analyze both informational and literary texts at increasing levels of complexity. Analyzing a text boils down to discerning and describing the text's structure.
All texts, whether informational or literary, have at least two levels of structures (see Kintsch, 1974; van Dijk, 1980). Top-level structures represent the overall organization, such as a narrative characterized by rising action, falling action, and a conclusion, or an argument in which the author presents and supports a claim.
In contrast, bottom-level structures involve basic relationships among ideas. Understanding these relationships can help students grasp the underlying structure of complex texts.