Expository Writing for Children: Tips & Tricks

Expository Writing for Kids – Tips and Tricks

The skills of writing an expository essay are important for enhancing a child’s written and oral communication capabilities. There are so many things kids can achieve with writing a good essay both inside and outside of school. Read on to find out how your child can master this type of writing!

What is Expository Writing?

Writing that is intended to explain, describe, or inform the reader is known as expository writing. Once the child learns to write sentences and paragraphs really well, expository writing is the first type of writing they should learn. Writing that includes basic book reports and other types of non-fiction cases will all fall under expository writing and, hence, there are a few types of expository writing. The purpose of expository writing is to explain a topic in a straightforward and logical manner.

Tips to Teach Expository Writing to Children

Teaching children expository writing and helping them understand the steps can be a bit easy when you provide them with the following tips:

1. Start at the place you have the most information

Children do not always have to start with the introduction paragraph. In fact, the process can be a bit easier when the introduction is written at the end. Children may get overwhelmed when they see a blank page, so to get over that feeling, they can begin their outline for the main paragraphs, gathering everything they know, and then writing the topic sentences for each. After that, they can start putting the information in order.

2. Be clear and concise

People have a limited attention span, so you could ask children to include only statements written in an easily understandable language so that an average reader can understand. This will help the readers concentrate on the topic, without losing interest.

3. Only include the facts

The essay should not only be based on the writer’s opinion, though an exposition can be impressive. Therefore, always support the case with data, facts, and dependable sources that can be verified and documented later.

4. Consider the tone and voice

Addressing the reader will mostly depend on the type of essay that is being written. Writing in the first person can work for a personal essay but it will not be appropriate for a business reporter writing a patent lawsuit. Therefore, think about the type of audience before the writing begins.

child writing in a notebook

Steps to Draft an Expository Essay

Expository writing is not just a requirement for most careers but it is also a life skill that every kid should learn. There are certain steps in expository writing, and understanding these can help anyone master this type of essay writing.

The essay is usually composed of 5 paragraphs- the introductory paragraph consists of the main idea of the thesis, the next three paragraphs will be the body of the essay containing all the details that will support your basis, and the concluding paragraph should restate the main idea, tying together the major points of the essay. The writing process contains the following steps:

1. Prewriting

In the prewriting process, kids should take the time to brainstorm about the main idea of the topic they are planning on writing. Next, take the relevant notes and do the research. Write down the outline showing the information that must be presented in every paragraph, and these must be organised in a logical sequence.

2. Drafting

When making the initial draft, you could follow the following procedure:

  • In the introductory paragraph, the topic sentence is the most important sentence since it states the main idea or the thesis of the essay. The thesis must only clearly state the topic without taking a position or giving an opinion. A thesis is considered a good one if it is well-defined and it contains the right opening to the content of the essay.
  • Each of the next three paragraphs should contain a separate point developing the thesis of the essay. Each of these paragraphs should contain sentences offering examples and facts supporting the topic of the paragraph.
  • The last paragraph, the concluding paragraph, should contain the main supporting ideas and must reinforce the thesis. In the concluding paragraph, do not include any new materials that are not available in the three paragraphs.
  • The expository composition will usually focus on a situation, event, or the views of the others and will not include any personal experience. Therefore, children should always write in the third person (“he”, “she”, or “it”) and must avoid sentences including “I” and “you”.

3. Revising

In this phase, children should modify, review, and reorganise everything they have come up with so far, with the goal of creating the best version. When revising, consider the following:

  • Does the essay effectively and clearly communicate the relevant information to the reader?
  • Is the word choice precise and is the sentence structure varied?
  • Is there any paragraph sprawl? These occur when the writer loses focus and goes off-topic, introducing unnecessary details.
  • Are the transitions between paragraphs and sentences smooth, helping the reader clearly understand the topic?

If you feel like the essay is still missing something then take another look at the topic sentence. An essay is solid only when there is a solid topic statement.

4. Editing

After writing the essay, the next step is to proofread and correct all the errors in mechanics and grammar. Editing will help improve the clarity and the style of your essay. However, keep in mind that though the essay has to be concise and clear, it should also be engaging and lively. You could ask another person to read the essay you have written to help edit the essay from a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing

Finally, sharing an essay with a parent, teacher, or another person can be both intimidating and exciting. However, keep in mind that every writer in this world is sensitive about their work. The most significant thing is to learn from the experience and then use their feedback to write a better essay the next time.

child writing an essay at home

Challenges Kids Can Face While Writing Expository Essays

When children write expository essays, a lot of things can go wrong but these are the perfect opportunities to help them learn the purpose. While writing these essays, children might sometimes forget the purpose of their writing. It is really common for them to start with the topic (comparing gaming systems) and then conclude with something very different from the topic (the best video game). You can fix this by checking in on them regularly during the activity. You could even review the drafts to see if the entire essay only contains the relevant information and nothing off-topic.

When writing expository essays, children might sometimes find it hard to control the format. Writing a contrast/comparison essay can sometimes be tricky and a lot of children will struggle with the format. They might even forget to give equal time to all the viewpoints in the essay. This can be fixed through graphic organisers to help them clearly see the parts of what they have written. Graphic organisers can simply be a few boxes containing everything the students are going to write in the essay, helping them differentiate each sentence and check whether equal importance is given to the statements.

Expository essays may take a lot of time so it is best to plan using a writing scheduler. Children may lose energy, interest, and focus if the projects keep on taking time, so it is best to push them to work with a few deadlines.

Expository Essay Prompt Ideas for Kids

Here are a few Expository essay topics that children would find interesting during their writing activity:

  • Medical studies have shown that exercise is a significant part of our daily routines. Discuss why exercise is important.
  • At work, at school, and at play, we are always taught to work in teams to help us achieve our goals. Why should a person become a good team player and how does it help?
  • For years, people have told us to eat healthy foods instead of junk foods. Why are healthy foods important?
  • What are the main reasons for students dropping out of their schools?
  • Most kids would have heard their grandparents and parents talk about “the good old days”. Is it just an imaginary thought in their older minds as they remember their youth? Or was life really better forty or twenty years ago?

Expository writing will not only help them enhance their communication skills but will also help them organise their thoughts, follow a plan, and conduct research to support their thesis when they get into higher grades!

Also Read:

Benefits of Journaling for Children
Tips to Improve Writing Speed of Children
Tips on How to Improve Handwriting for Children

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Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.