Expository Writing: Teaching Kids to Inform & Explain
So you are teaching expository writing and here’s the outcome for your students: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
It sounds a little dry, doesn’t it? I mean, how do you make that engaging and enticing for your writers?
1. HOOK THEM:
Well, first of all, you need to show them why it’s important to learn to introduce and develop “precise claims” and to “examine and convey complex ideas.” You do this by explaining that, yes, they need to write this way to be successful in school, but you should also show them that expository writing is everywhere in their lives. In fact, most of them probably read and write it every day. Ask them how many have recently read an on-line review or an on-line article about something. Hook students into the process by showing them high-interest examples of this form of writing that they will be very familiar with. For example, you might find reviews of a new and hot video game, or for a local restaurant.
3. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES TO PRACTICE INFORMING & EXPLAINING:
For example, when I teach my students how to write a definition essay, we begin with an activity where each group is assigned a word, and they have to work together to brainstorm and develop ideas that will help them define it. And, of course, students will be defining words that are relevant to them, so I get more buy-in.
This activity, combined with the mentor texts that illustrate what a definition essay looks like, gives the students a much better idea of how to write one of their own.
If you would like to follow a similar process, I’ve got it all ready to go for you in this product: Expository Writing: Lessons & Activities That Teach Students to Inform and Explain. It’s got everything you’ll need to teach your students how to write engaging and effective essays.