Different types of writing – text types

Writing is done for a number of different purposes and for different audiences. These different forms of writing are often known as text types at school.

Factual texts inform, instruct or persuade by giving facts and information.

Literary texts entertain or elicit an emotional response by using language to create mental images.

Students are often asked to present an assignment or project which may be one of these text types.

Below are lists of different text types, purposes and features that are included in the English K-6 syllabus. This list may provide hints to help with your child’s written task.

Always refer to the actual task requirements sent home with your child and remember the type of text used by a writer should suit the purpose and the audience.

Factual texts

Factual description

Describes a place or thing using facts.

Features:

  • begins with an introductory statement
  • systematically describes different aspects of the subject
  • may end with a concluding statement.

Examples:

  • landscape descriptions

Factual recount

Gives instructions on how to make or do something.

Features:

  • begins with a statement of goal (could be the title)
  • lists materials needed in order of use
  • gives a series of steps (instructions) in order
  • each instruction begins with a verb in the present tense.

Examples:

  • recipes
  • instructions
  • manual.

Information report

Classifies, describes and gives factual information about people, animals, things or phenomena.

Features:

  • begins with a general classifi cation or defi nition
  • lists a sequence of related information about the topic
  • ends with a concluding comment.

Examples:

  • facts about whales

Procedure

Gives instructions on how to make or do something.

Features:

  • begins with a statement of goal (could be the title)
  • lists materials needed in order of use
  • gives a series of steps (instructions) in order
  • each instruction begins with a verb in the present tense.

Examples:

  • recipes
  • instruction
  • manual.

Procedural recount

Tells how something was made or done in time order and with accuracy.

Features:

  • begins with a statement of what was made or done
  • tells what was made in order
  • written in the past tense.

Examples:

  • documentaries
  • retelling
  • a science experiment and its results.

Explanation

Explains how or why something happens.

Features:

  • starts by naming the topic
  • describes items related to the topic in their right order
  • explains how the items relate to each other and to the topic
  • may end with a concluding statement
  • may include visual images, e.g. flowcharts and diagrams, which support what is written in words
  • written in the present tense.

Examples:

  • the life cycle of a butterfly
  • how gears work
  • labelled diagrams
  • flowcharts.

Persuasive texts

Persuasive texts are factual text types that give a point of view. They are used to influence or persuade others.

Exposition

Gives reasons for a point of view to try and convince others of it.

Features:

  • begins with a sentence that gives a point of view on a topic
  • lists the arguments giving reasons and evidence for them
  • uses convincing language e.g. ‘will damage’ instead of ‘may damage’.

Example:

  • A team’s argument for a debate.

Discussion

Gives different points of view in order to make an informed decision.

Features:

  • begins with some background information leading to the issue
  • lists arguments for and against, giving evidence for different points of view
  • conclusion might sum up both sides or recommend one point of view.

Example:

  • Should cars be banned from the inner city?

Literary texts

Literary description

Describes people, characters, places, events and things in an imaginative way.

Features:

  • describes characteristic features of the subject, e.g. physical appearance, behaviour
  • often forms part of other pieces of writing.

Examples:

  • description of a character
  • setting within a story.

Literary recount

Retells events from novels, plays, films and personal experiences to entertain others.

Features:

  • begins with background information, e.g. character, time, place
  • describes the events in time order
  • may end with a personal comment about the characters or events.

Examples:

  • A recount of a traditional story, e.g. The Gingerbread Man.
  • A humorous and creatively interpreted recount of an ordinary incident that actually took place.

Personal response

Gives a personal opinion on a novel, play or film, referring to parts within the passage.

Features:

  • describes how you feel about a novel, film, book or play
  • lists what did and did not appeal to you
  • may comment on some of the features of the writing.

Examples:

  • What did you like about that artwork and why?
  • Describe why you do or do not like this story/poem.

Review

Summarises, analyses and assesses the appeal of a novel, play or film, to a broader audience.

Features:

  • describes how features (e.g. characters, plot, language features, humour etc) may or may not appeal

Examples:

  • commentary on a film, play, book etc.

Narrative

Tells a story using a series of events.

Features:

  • the scene is set in a time and place and characters are introduced
  • usually has a problem that is addressed
  • may contain a message for the reader.

Examples:

  • picture books
  • cartoons
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • adventure
  • science fiction
  • historical fiction
  • fairy tales
  • myths
  • legends
  • fables
  • plays.
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