2.2 Craft and Structure

Problem and Solution Text Structure

Authors sometimes organize their writing by problem and solution. The author will present a problem that needs to be solved. A problem can be between individuals or groups, or it might be with something that is going on in the world. A problem might even occur with just one person. Identifying the problem and solution will help you understand the text better.

Read the passage below to help you understand the problem and solution text structure.

In the early 1800s, the United States needed room to grow. The problem was most people lived in the East. The cities were crowded. New land was expensive. Young families couldn’t afford to buy farms.

Then, as a solution, the United States government purchased land from France. The government also acquired land from Mexico. Soon the country stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean. People looked to the setting sun with outstretched arms and said, “Go west!”

Settlers rode in wagons or on horses. They followed long, dusty trails across hot plains for thousands of miles. There was no shelter. People slept in tents on the ground. They had to watch out for wild animals like wolves and snakes. The trip west could take months.

Then a railroad was built that stretched from the East Coast almost to the West Coast. The railroad made travel faster. More people poured into the new lands. The settlers quickly built small towns where the farming, fishing, and mining were good.


Signal words provide hints that help you make sense of what you are reading. Click below to see the signal words in the text above.

Signal words

The word problem appears in the first paragraph and indicates that the cities in the eastern United States were crowded and land was expensive. The solution follows the problem and is indicated by the word solution in the second paragraph. The United States government acquired more land to the west and people built small towns on this new land.

To learn more about signal words, click the link below.

|Signal Words|

Go back to the main page to learn about other kinds of text structure. When you are finished, go to the practice page.