Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Behind the Books: Thinking About Nonfiction Writing Styles

According to CCSS, there are four types of nonfiction—literary, expository, persuasive, and procedural. But traditionally, writers have used terms like these as labels for various nonfiction writing styles.

I like the word “styles” because it implies some sort of craft, some sort of decision-making process on the part of the writer. When reading a nonfiction text, it’s important for students to think about the author’s purpose and how that purpose influenced the way he/she chose to present facts, ideas, and/or true stories. Remembering that the author is a person with a distinct point of view will help young readers think critically and spot potential biases. And that’s not all. Recognizing how other authors craft their manuscripts can help young writers communicate their own thoughts and ideas more effectively.

Okay, I’ll get down off my soapbox now.

If you google “nonfiction writing styles,” you’ll pull up a gazillion different articles. Some of the ideas in them overlap, and some don’t. Like I said last week, classifying nonfiction can be a messy process.

After reading dozens of articles on this topic and thinking about the children’s nonfiction books being produced today as well as the kinds of writing that twenty-first century learners should be able to craft, I see these three style categories—expository, narrative, and persuasive.

Expository writing explains, describes, and/or informs. That’s the author’s purpose in crafting the piece.

Narrative writing reads like a story because the author has worked hard to create that effect.

Persuasive writing argues a position because the author wants to convince the reader of something.

I’ll be talking more about each of these three style categories over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I'll look forward to reading more as you explore these various NF writing styles. Thanks!