Home > Our Design Lab > Skills > Writing Informational Text

Writing Informational Text

Description 

Informational writing is distinct from narrative in both form and content, and as students progress through school they are increasingly expected to be able to both read and write informational texts for a variety of purposes.  A background rooted solely in narrative does not adequately prepare students for the unique conventions and both reading and writing strategies associated with informational text, so they require explicit and targeted instruction in this genre.  Students need to learn how to write such documents both efficiently and effectively, conveying their ideas clearly and precisely and following genre conventions.  They also need to know how to apply genre-specific strategies to understand, organize, and remember the most important information from texts.

Benefits 

In most secondary schools and colleges, informational writing is the primary modality through which students acquire information and express their learning.  Students skilled at both reading and writing informational text are prepared to take advantage of the majority of learning opportunities they will encounter both in and out of school.  The study of informational text also helps students to refine critical cognitive processes such as synthesizing main ideas and categorizing information, and it helps them to build background knowledge across content areas.

Content Area Adaptations 

Informational writing is usually prevalent across all content areas, and students need practice reading and writing informational text in multiple domains.  Informational text is a broad category, and most content areas include unique sub-genres (lab reports, academic articles, legal documents) in which students will require instruction in order to master.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Metacognition
  • Predicting
  • Questioning
  • Synthesizing

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.5
  • CCRA.L.6
  • CCRA.W.1
  • CCRA.W.2
  • CCRA.W.7
  • CCRA.W.8
  • CCRA.W.9

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Writing

S.P.A.C.E. for Narrative Writing

This activity helps students to organize the process of planning and writing a narrative. The mnemonic SPACE (Harris & Graham, 1992) is an acronym that stands for: S: Setting P: Purpose A: Action C: Conclusion E: Emotions Through the use of this mnemonic, students can gain confidence and success at composing narrative pieces.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation

What-Why-How Strategy

In this activity, adapted from Teaching That Makes Sense (www.ttms.org), students will make predictions, provide reasons, and use evidence from the text as support. Students will then write prediction statements that incorporate all three elements. The purpose of this activity is for students to engage deeply...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Evaluate: Is It Plagiarism?

Through this activity students will learn how to evaluate a piece of writing to determine whether or not it is plagiarized. This important skill will help them to avoid the ethical violations and disciplinary repercussions associated with turning in plagiarized writing, and will help them to determine whether text that they read is authentic...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation