Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Narrative and Expository Writing

Question: How do students differentiate between narrative and expository writing?

Answer: “This study examines fifth and sixth grade students’ metacognitive knowledge about the processes of writing narrative and expository texts.”

Examples of students’ comments:
“In their interviews, students addressed differences between narrative and expository text writing. A major difference cited by most students was the creative, imaginary aspect of story writing in contrast to the factual, informative nature of report writing.

“For example, Ridgely….in his post-treatment interview, “If it is a fiction story, you don’t have to research it. In a report, you have to do research so you get everything right.”

Roy ” ’Because a story, you get all the information that you want. But a report you’ve got to get information that is true. A story you can write anything you want.’ Roy’s sense of the difference is that stories give the author complete and absolute freedom. In contrast, two students…focused more specifically on the different text structure features of expository writing (e.g., questions answered and keywords) versus narrative writing (e.g., characters)….”

Comment: From time to time my readers might find it interesting to ask students what the differences are between narrative and expository writing. With the word “story” applying to almost everything that is written, they could be confused about the differences between the two forms.

Not to mention the fact that narratives are often included in expository writing and expository information in narrative writing. RayS.

Title: “Students’ Metacognitive Knowledge about Writing.” TE Raphael, CS Englert, BW Kirschner. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1989), 343-379.

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