What is 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 information.
What is its purpose?
- to develop students’ awareness of the organizational structures of informative text
- 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 text
How do I do it?
- 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 activities.
- 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 appropriate.
- Collaboratively prepare a draft by developing charted ideas into sentences and paragraphs.
- 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.
How can I adapt it?
Writing to inform may include the following strategies:
- Co-operative learning
- Experience charts
- Making books and charts
Assessment and Evaluation Considerations
- 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.
- Classroom resource collections should include expository text.
- Daily reading to students sessions should include expository as well as narrative selections.
- Elementary students should gradually become aware of the structures and language of expository text. Common organizational patterns of expository text include:
- 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 result.
- 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.