The 5 Most Commonly Taught Writing Styles
By placing a significantly higher emphasis on a variety of writing types, we can help address the challenges regarding student writing proficiency. This is especially important in the middle school years, when students are transitioning from the foundational skills they learned in elementary school to the deeper levels of thinking required in high school and beyond.
If you have a teaching degree, it’s likely you’ve already learned about or taught many of the following types of writing styles. Whether you’re familiar with all of them or need to brush up on several, there are guaranteed to be new approaches with which you’re not yet familiar. That’s the goal of this post: to give you the tools you need to maximize your students’ learning experience, writing skills and persuasive power.
The most common types of writing styles differ from their intended purpose to their structure to the level of emotional appeal for which they call. Understanding how each of these categories contributes to each type of writing will help you teach students to express themselves more proficiently, as well as reach higher levels of proficiency on state and national tests.
We Are Teachers defines narrative writing as “writing that is characterized by a main character in a setting who engages with a problem or event in a significant way. As writing instruction goes, narrative writing encompasses a lot: author’s purpose, tone, voice, structure, in addition to teaching sentence structure, organization, and word choice.”
You can assign students a wide variety of narrative writing assignments, from personal narrative to fiction to “fan fiction,” or stories that use main characters from books students love. For instance, a student could write a short story about one of Harry Potter’s untold side adventures.
Teaching students to weave all of these elements together will take time, which is why each lesson should cover no more than one of the above. As students check off each item, they can incorporate it with the ones above. Eventually, the result will be a well-fleshed-out story they can be proud to share with the class and their family.
Bloom’s Taxonomy, a friend to all teachers and critical pedagogical guide, lists analysis in the top half of the pyramid. That’s because the ability to look at a statement, argument, character or theme and decide whether or not it has merit – and why it does or does not – is a necessary skill in secondary school, college and career.
This ability requires first identifying and then dissecting the subject at hand, after which the student can offer an argument about its meaning and merit.That’s where analytical writing comes in.
“The Analytical Writing measure tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.”
While one might assume that postgraduates taking entrance exams are at a significantly different learning point than middle schoolers (which they are), the similarities between the skills needed then and needed in 7th grade are nearly identical. In fact, having those skills in later life is largely dependent on middle school teachers developing them now.
Note, however, that analytical writing is not pure explanation or description (as we will encounter in the next writing style). Instead, it requires that students read and comprehend either fiction or nonfiction, explain what is happening, and then analyze a particular facet of what they’ve read.
Analytical writing requires developing a thesis that supports their main claim, backing it up with proof from the text, and concluding with a summary that wraps the two together.
As with all forms of writing, it’s important to teach this skill slowly, starting with reading critically, identifying a thesis, finding evidence and tying it together in a paper – as well as peer examination of others’ analytical writing. It is also helpful to give examples of analytical theses, such as:
Narrative Writing: Tell a Story
Narrative writing tells a story, real or fictional. Whether or not the events described really happened, this type of writing is all about presenting the story in a way that readers will enjoy and understand. The events don’t have to happen in chronological order, but they must capture and hold the reader’s attention.
Types of Narrative Writing
Narrative writing can take many forms. It can be your own story, such as a memoir or a personal essay. It can also be the story of a historical event or a work of fiction, such as a short story or novel.
Narrative Writing Example
In this type of writing, the goal is to tell the reader what happens in a way that is compelling. This can involve creating characters and describing settings in a way that makes the story more realistic. However, while descriptive details are part of narrative writing, this type of writing is not solely about description. This is about what happens in the story. You can see this in action in this example from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
“Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live board was, Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence, and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. He had no time to think about the matter, however; for Mr. Bumble gave him a tap on the head to wake him up, and another on the back to make him lively, and bidding him follow, conducted him into a large whitewashed room where eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table, at the top of which, seated in an armchair rather higher than the rest, was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round, red face.”
- Seeing eight missed calls from her nephew first thing in the morning filled her with dread. Surely she knew what he wanted to tell her. The moment in time that they had been dreading for so long had finally come to pass. She dialed even though she knew what he was going to say. “It’s done,” he said. She replied, “I know.”
- She checked her email, hoping against hope to receive some positive news about her job search. She noticed a message in her inbox from a company she applied to work with. Good news or bad news? She wasn’t sure. But there was only one way to find out. With hope and trepidation, she clicked the message.
- The little dog looked suspiciously at the dog door. She had never seen such a thing. Being a shelter rescue she was accustomed only to the bars of a crate, with a door fully opened or fully closed, with no ability to move about freely. The pup pushed the flap gently with her nose but did not know what to do.
Tips for Writing in the Narrative Style
Persuasive Writing: Convince the Reader
Persuasive writing is unique because it has a very clear and important purpose: convincing the reader to do something or think something. To succeed at this type of writing, you need a clear goal. Know what you want the reader to do or believe after reading your work.
Types of Persuasive Writing
Persuasive Writing Example
Persuasive writing is only successful if you are clear about your goal and then support that goal with relevant points. This builds a case for your reader. You can see this type of writing in action in this excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.
“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them . “
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Tips for Writing in the Persuasive Style