Helping kids to understand structure in writing – Part 2

In our first article on what parents can do to help their kids understand structure in writing, we outlined the aims, structure and features of writing the narrative and the persuasive essay, two of the most common text types studied in both primary and secondary school.

In this article we look at writing information reports*, another common form of writing across schooling.

Although qualified primary teachers both at the child’s school and at our centre are expert at working through the skills and knowledge needed for students to become strong writers, as a parent it helps to have an awareness of the structure and features of different text types in order to support your child with at-home tasks.

Of course, each of these text types (and others) could be tackled in a lot more detail in separate articles – but if you require more information on a particular type of writing, our staff are always happy to answer your questions and provide examples.

THE REPORT

Purpose: to describe the facts about a thing or set of things

Types: factual reports can inform about components or types of a thing

Structure:

  1. Introduction: an opening paragraph explaining or defining the subject
  2. Main Body: a series of paragraphs, each with a sub-topic explaining various aspects of the subject. This may include sub-headings, diagrams, photographs or graphs relating to the content
  3. Conclusion: a final, general statement on the topic may round off the report

Supporting Features:

Factual, formal and descriptive language in third person (no ‘I’ or ‘we’) is used to clearly outline the components of the subject. Often, technical language is incorporated.

Ways to help students understand report writing:

  • Choosing an everyday item like a vacuum cleaner or a bike and exploring the components together, discussing how they might work, is a great way to get kids involved in a topic and to begin thinking about how we break down information. From there, they can do further research and begin formulating a report.
  • Reading simple reports on familiar subjects and analysing the reports for components studied (introduction, topic paragraphs, facts, formal language etc.) can assist in building awareness of the structure and features of a report
  • Discussing the difference between an information report and a news report, particularly the difference in purpose and audience and how this affects the writing – this can help address any confusion on what defines a report

* Structure and features of
text types drawn from Derewianka, Beverly 1990, Exploring How Texts Work, Primary English Teaching Association, NSW.

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