Writing to Inform
Writing that reports information to others can vary greatly in content and
format. Many learning experiences culminate in expository or informative writing
activities. Students must have opportunities to read a variety of resources
and printed materials for information. During writing, students can apply their
knowledge of the structures and formats of these materials to organize and convey
- to develop students' awareness of the organizational structures of informative
- to develop students' abilities to use writing to organize, sequence, record
and report knowledge and experience
- to increase students' ability to read and comprehend informative or expository
- Introduce expository structures to students by reading various resources
in all subject areas.
When reading informative text, focus students' attention on the structure
and organization of ideas.
- A shared experience, students' interests, or a unit or topic of study in
any subject area should provide the topic for collaborative writing and reporting
- With students, determine an appropriate topic.
- Brainstorm, categorize and web what is known about the topic.
- Have students consider the audience to determine the appropriate content
and format of the report.
- Sequence main ideas and supporting details, incorporating sub-headings if
- Collaboratively prepare a draft by developing charted ideas into sentences
- Read the draft and discuss the clarity of the information conveyed.
- Revise the draft incorporating students' suggestions.
- Have students consider the audience and purpose of the writing as they prepare
the final draft or copy.
- Have students prepare any accompanying visuals.
- Share, display or present the final version to appropriate audiences.
- Classroom resource collections should include expository text.
- Daily reading to students sessions should include expository as well as
- Elementary students should gradually become aware of the structures and
language of expository text. Common organizational patterns of expository
- Description -- features or characteristics of the topic are described.
Some examples may be provided.
- Sequence -- events or items are listed or ordered chronologically.
- Comparison -- the subject or topic is compared and contrasted with other
things or events.
- Cause and Effect -- the author explains the cause of an event and the
- Problem and Solution -- a question is presented and solutions are proposed.
- Students should have opportunities to orally express ideas and understandings
before being expected to convey information in writing.
- During the Emerging Phase, students should have opportunities to inform
others by dictating, drawing and writing their ideas.
- Observe students' ability to organize and convey information through writing.
- Note students' use of their knowledge of text structures to read informative
materials for meaning.
What Students Learn about Language
- Writing can be used to inform others.
- Language is used to organize thoughts and ideas.
- Comprehension is aided by an awareness of text structure.
- Narrative and expository text differ in structure.
Adaptations and Applications
(Saskatchewan Education English Language Arts, June 1992)
- Writing to inform may include the following strategies:
- Co-operative learning
- Experience charts
- Making books and charts