Types of Writing:
The Match Game
Snack: Let's have snack foods that
are a good match. Peanut butter and crackers? Cereal and milk? Carrot sticks and ranch dip? Celery
sticks stuffed with cream cheese? Whatever sounds good as a pair - and match
your snack up with a drink that matches, too, either in color or flavor or
"just because" you think it goes together.
Print out the list,
below, on cardstock and
cut into a deck of
or just write each
type of writing on a different blank card
Assemble as many
examples of these different kinds of writing as you can
Go over these definitions of the various types of
writing. Note that it is important that you match the format of a piece of
writing with its purpose.
wouldn't write the news about someone's death for an obituary in the newspaper
in the form of a light-hearted poem, for example. Nor would you use a Q&A
format for a funny short story - that's a mostly serious format, and you'd need
a less formal structure to let your humor shine through.
you've discussed the formats, lay out samples of different kinds of writing on
long tables. For example, for an example of "business" writing, put a memo; for
"persuasive," put a political flier.
students a deck of cards with the types of writing on each. Divide into pairs
or teams and give out an equal number of cards. The students should go around
to the different kinds of writing, and lay the corresponding card on each one.
you have a lot of students, you can print out three or four different sets of
cards, on different colored cardstock, and make it a race.
the students discuss their choices. Ask if anyone can think of another format
of writing that is not listed.
Laws and Rules
Compare and Contrast
Cause and Effect
To entertain the reader, often in fiction such as
books and short stories.
To share thoughts, ideas, emotions, feelings and
convictions about a subject.
To tell facts and details about a person, place or
event, "painting a picture" for the reader so that it can be clearly seen in
the reader's mind.
To describe an experience, event, or whole sequence
of events, in the form of a story, with characters, plot and setting.
Sharing an experience or event from the narrator's own
A personal log of one person's experiences, feelings,
life events and ideas.
Love letters, thank-you notes, postcards, telegrams,
letters of apology,
Electronic messages written in rather short format,
often with longer articles and background information provided as optional
Short, informal communication with lots of abbreviations
and slang characterize these quick and casual writing forms.
Also called "expository" writing, you expose or
reveal information, such as an explanation of how something works, report on a
book or a battle or any other subject under the sun, or give directions to a
location, in short, clearly-written text.
Also known as "process writing,"
this is a format to explain the steps to take for a certain outcome, or to give
directions for how to get somewhere, or what procedures should be undertaken in
Questions are published along with the
answers to them in this straightforward format designed to deliver information
quickly and accurately.
To report and explain new
information that has been learned by studying existing resources, documenting
every step of the way. Examples: medical studies, family genealogies, consumer
comparisons of car quality, etc.
Laws and Rules
Long lists of what you can and cannot do
in society are carefully written and indexed in rulebooks, legal texts,
government regulations, school dress codes and behavior codes, and so forth.
Often using complex vocabulary and
explanations out of the grasp of the lay reader, technical writing is often
aimed at a select group of readers who are experts or near-experts in a
A blend of storytelling and
fact-delivering by using one or more characters plus plot and setting to convey
facts, knowledge and information.
To stand behind an opinion or view,
and influence the reader's opinion or view with strong, supportive evidence.
To state something that the reader
will at first disagree with, but then win the reader over to your viewpoint
with convincing facts and details that will get the reader to change his or her
To communicate your response to something else, and back up your
opinions, views and conclusion, whether your reaction is "pro" or "con."
Compare and Contrast
To show how two things are alike,
Cause and Effect
To show relationships between two
things, including good and bad consequences.
Letters, memos, training manuals and
other publications to help everyone in a workplace, or between workplaces, to
communicate ideas, perform needed services, work as a team, and make money
To inform about a product or
service, and persuade the reader to buy it or otherwise support it.
Reporting the 5 W's and H (who, what,
when, where, why and how), providing a journal of day-to-day history as it is
To share how a piece of literature,
such as a book, changed your mind and heart, taught you something, inspired
you, opened your eyes to a problem, etc.
To combine language in a beautiful
and compelling way to shine the light of imagination onto a subject, idea or
event, working in stanzas and, sometimes, verse, rather than in textual
sentences and paragraphs.
For dramatic plays, movies and TV,
radio programming, DVD's and a host of other purposes, scripts are the written
directions given to the actors and technical staff working together on the