Patterns of organization

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Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall – pg. 540

Reading Skill


When writers explain a process, they can organize their information by cause and effect, compare and contrast, and main idea and supporting details. A cause is the reason why something happens. An effect is what happens as the result of a cause.

Directions:  Fill in the two cause-and-effect chains to show why leaves turn color and why they fall.

Name   Date

Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall

Text Analysis

Author’s Purpose

An author’s purpose is the reason why he or she writes. An author may write to explain a process, to describe a scene, to reflect on an idea, or to do all three. An author may use scientific terms to explain a process or poetic diction and imagery to describe or reflect.

Directions:  In the chart, write the author’s purpose for four paragraphs of the essay. Write details that support the purpose. One has already been done for you.


Author’s Purpose



To describe

“Early morning frost sits heavily on the grass, and turns barbed wire into a string of stars.”

To describe

To explain

To reflect

Name   Date

Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall

Reading Check

Directions:  Recall the ideas and events from Diane Ackerman’s essay. Then answer the questions in phrases or sentences.

1. What causes leaves to gradually break down chlorophyll and change colors in the fall?

2. What does a tree do in order to survive winter?

3. What natural events affect the colors that leaves turn?

4. What is the purpose for leaves to change color?

5. What is a “falling leaf” maneuver?

Name   Date

Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall

Question Support

Text Analysis

Directions: Answer the questions.

4. Identify Author’s Purpose  Look back at the author’s purpose chart you made.

What is one thing Ackerman explains?

What is one thing Ackerman describes?

What is one thing about which Ackerman reflects?

5. Analyze Patterns of Organization

What are two patterns of organization a writer might use?

6. Recognize Contrasts  Circle the phrase that completes the following sentence. Ackerman contrasts the changing colors of leaves with .

a. leaves falling from their branches c. the movements of an airplane

b. animals’ adaptations for survival d. children kicking dead leaves

7. Analyze Language  Look back at the essay. Then complete these sentences.

One image that appeals to the sense of sight is

One image that appeals to the sense of sound is

8. Interpret Author’s Message  Circle the phrase that completes the following sentence. Ackerman sees a connection between fall leaves and .

a. shrews and field mice c. spring flowers

b. young children d. death of humans

9. Evaluate Interpretations  One critic has said that Ackerman’s nonfiction is “a creative blend of journalism, science, and poetry; it is her poetic vision that makes her nonfiction so successful.” Circle a word or phrase in parentheses, and then complete the sentence.

The poetic images Ackerman uses (help/ do not help) make her essay successful because

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