A list of expository essay types is included in nearly every high school and college text about writing. The textbook you use for teaching writing probably includes a fair number of those on the continuum below. If you are just starting out teaching expository writing, you might find the list daunting. How could you possibly ever teach all those different essay types?
You couldn't. And you don't need to.
Every type of expository essay can be taught as some variation on the basic thesis and support writing pattern.
Reading this page on a mobile device? Readable lists of the types of essays in each of the three I/E groups are further down the page.
Argument and narrative are terms from the traditional list of expository essays. All other traditional expository essay types are now within the category of informative/explanatory texts.
You'll notice on the continuum that there are three groups of essays under the informative and explanatory texts heading. As you move from left to right along the continuum, essays within those three groups contain increasing amounts of narrative.
After students have mastered the basic thesis-and-support pattern, you can begin easing them toward modifications of the basic pattern. You do that by assigning writing prompts that give students an option to use some narrative technique in lieu of the more traditional three pieces of evidence.
Knowing which expository essay types contain the least amount of narrative can help you there.
Use the list of expository essay types in the I/E text group next to arguments to start you thinking. You shouldn't have too much difficulty coming up with an authentic ELA writing prompt that calls for persuasion, analysis, or classification. See if you can find one that lends itself to an anecdote or event summary.
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Five expository essays in the I/E texts category that typically have some narrative are these:
Five expository essay types that typically have a bit more narrative are these from the center column under I/E texts:
The five expository essay types that typically have the most amount of narrative compared to other I/E texts are these:
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Content on this page was first posted at you-can-teach-writing.com on 2008-08-15 and updated 2011-12-16 by Linda Aragoni. She posted this version to yctwriting.com on 2018-01-01.
Even if you don't teach writing in one of the US schools that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, you can save yourself grief if you use the terminology of the Common Core instead of traditional essay terminology: argument, narrative, and informative/expository text.
Hints and helps that are useful for good students are not enough for struggling students or those with learning difficulties. Students who struggle with writing need explicit directions and live models of how to write.