Every new writing skill that students develop and hone serves as a building block. Throughout elementary school, students are beginning to expand on their basic understanding of writing and learn how to convey the thoughts and ideas that they have in clear, concise ways.
One of the best ways to improve a student’s ability to write thoroughly and effectively is to introduce the concept of explanatory writing. Explanatory writing is a type of informational writing that requires a student to write in an orderly, sequential fashion. This type of writing is sometimes also referred to as expository writing, and it serves as an important step toward creating longer, more detailed research projects in the future.
In the later years of elementary schools, students should use explanatory writing frequently in the classroom. Explanatory writing topics can include scientific prompts, historic ideas or current events. In some cases, opinion pieces also can be a form of explanatory writing, as long as the student uses facts and data to back up their opinion on a given topic.
If you are introducing explanatory writing to your students, you may find that this type of writing is a challenge for them. This is a new concept to students in third and fourth grade, but it’s important to help them work through their frustrations and create a piece that is cohesive and information. By the time they are in fifth and sixth grade, they will be so familiar with explanatory writing that they will naturally start to extend their pieces and create more intricate reports.
The key to getting your students to love explanatory writing is to give them good explanatory writing topics and ideas. Use these explanatory writing prompts to get started:
Explanatory Writing Topics and Prompts That Will Interest Your Students
- Write a paragraph about your favorite food. Give three solid reasons why you love this meal.
- Write a paper about an animal that is facing extinction. Include facts and figures about the current population of that animal and some of the challenges it faces.
- Write a letter convincing your parent to get a new pet for your home. Don’t forget to include fact-based reasons as to why it’s a good idea.
- What city would you like to live in? Write an explanatory piece about that city and why it’s a great place to live.
- Write a report about a person in your community who is making a difference.
- Write a scientific report on a plant that you would like to plant in your garden. Include information about the plant’s lifecycle, how to care for the plant and the type of fruit or vegetable that it will produce.
- Write about a famous invention that has personally changed your own life. Who invented it? When was it invented? How do you use this invention in your everyday life?
- There are three types of communities that you can live in: Rural, suburban or urban. Which do you currently live in? Where would you prefer to live? Explain why.
- Write an explanatory writing piece about how to play your favorite playground game.
- Imagine that you are going to run for president. What would your campaign focus on? Explain why you feel those are important topics to address at this time.
- Write a new rule for your classroom, and explain why it should be implemented as soon as possible.
- What would you do if your tablet suddenly disappeared? Write about how you would fill a day without devices.
- Climate change is a real problem that humans are dealing with today. Write about one way you can reduce your own ecological footprint at home or in the classroom.
- Explain how to make your own school lunch.
- Write an explanatory writing piece about the importance of exercise. Don’t forget to include a few of your favorite ways to stay active.
- Write about the most recent book that you read just for fun. Describe the characters, the setting and the plot. Write about how it made you feel.
- Write about a career field that you are interested in. What do you like most about this career field? Why?
- Describe one of your happiest memories. Why is this memory so special to you?
- Bullying is a problem at schools across the country. Have you ever encountered a bully? What is the best way to deal with a bully?
- Which season is your favorite? Write three reasons why you love it the most.
- Think about the books you have read in the classroom this year. Who is one character that you relate to the most? Explain why.
- Write about the best way to make a new friend at school.
Related Links & Resources
Explanatory writing doesn’t have to be a boring chore that your students have to suffer through. With the right explanatory writing topics at your disposal, you will be able to get them interested in this type of writing and help them develop the skills they will need to be a strong writer in the future. When students enjoy the process of putting pen to paper, then you can rest easy knowing that they will always keep on writing!
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