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Incorporate Persuasive, Informative, & Narrative Writing in PK-1

april 18, 2017

The college and career-ready standards expect the three modes of writing to be taught at every grade level.

Smekens Original Persuasive Genre Poster
Smekens Original Informative Genre Poster
Smekens Original Narrative Genre Poster
  1. The argumentative standard requires students to share their opinions, persuade, and argue ideas.
  2. The informative writing standard asks students to write expository pieces that explain, inform, instruct, and even compare ideas.
  3. The narrative writing standard has students write entertaining stories to their audiences.
Teach the 3 Modes of Writing within the Developmental Stages - Downloadable Resource

It’s easy to see how these three modes of writing fit into the middle school or high school classroom or even in the intermediate grade levels. But how do you teach preschoolers, kindergartners, or first graders these three types of writing when they’re only drawing pictures and/or barely writing letters and words?

These modes of writing can be easily addressed within the developmental stages of our youngest writers. Over the course of the year, students will progress from detailed picture-writing to adding labels around their pictures to detailed lists and then finally to detailed sentences.

Opinion/Persuasive Writing

Kids have lots of opinions–things they love and things they strongly dislike. Capitalize on their opinions with carefully chosen topics and provide ample opportunities for them to practice this mode. For example, you might assign them to “write” about their favorite toy. Sharing a “favorite” means sharing an opinion.

  • They could communicate in the form of pictures with lots of close-up details about the toy.
  • They could draw and then add letter or word labels around their detailed pictures.
  • They could make lists of their favorite toys or what they want for Christmas.
  • They could write several sentences about their favorite toy(s).

Informative Writing

For expository and informative writing, consider topics that students are knowledgeable about. This will likely include content-area concepts you’ve been teaching in science and social studies. For example, you might assign them to “write” about the life cycle of a plant demonstrating what they know about plant parts and how they work.

  • They could communicate in the form of pictures detailing the parts of a plant.
  • They could draw and then add letter or word labels around their detailed pictures.
  • They could make lists of a plant’s parts and/or its step-by-step life cycle.
  • They could write several sentences about how plants grow.

Narrative Writing

Topics for narrative writing can be as simple as asking students “What did you do this weekend?” Perhaps the child writes about going bike riding. He may have ridden his bike down to Grandma’s house or to a friend’s house.

  • They could communicate about their weekend through pictorial writing.
  • They could draw and then add letter or word labels around their detailed pictures.
  • They could write a list of what they did this weekend, in order from beginning to end.
  • They could write several sentences, creating a simple story all about their weekend.

Meeting the writing standards in PK-1 in any stage of writing is doable. Assess your writers to know what stage they are in—drawing, labeling, listing, or sentence writing. Then, select topics that lend themselves to the writing purpose or specific mode you want to teach.

Access a three-page list of suggested
mentor text organized by genre and developmental stage.

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