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Understanding the different writing styles.

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Last updated by Mary-Anne Murphy

Styles of Writing

Different purposes for writing require different writing styles (previously known as genre) and these need teaching to your students.  As writing is intended to be a skill for use across the curriculum, this provides opportunities for you to immerse writing into all sections of your day, or conversely to move your writing time out into differnet times of your day to fit with a variety of curriculum topics.

Students need to be able to select the appropriate style of writing and to use the specific vocabulary that goes with each curriculum area.  Hence within the five styles of writing included here, their style will also vary according to the curriculum area within which you embed the writing.  Report writing in science for example may use words such as "hypothesise, predict, experiment, validate" while in social studies they may be more likely to use "analyse, compare, contrast, citizenship, perspective, identity, culture" and in maths "estimate, calculate, proportion, patterns, relationship, symmetrical, data".  Teaching the different styles of writing in isolation to the curriculum areas is therefore not sufficient, and emphasises the need for writing (and other forms of literacy) to be cross-curricular.

In teaching each of the writing styles, teachers and students need to be aware of the purpose of the writing, the audience for which it is written, the features of that particular style of writing, and have available exemplars that can be deconstructed with students in order to further understand what is required for that style of writing. Additionally assessment rubrics can be co-constructed so that students can be self assessing and provide feedback to other students about the effectiveness of their writing.  

e-Learning tools also assist in motivating and engaging the writer, accessing information and ideas to develop the content of their writing, brainstorming ideas for planning and sequencing their work,  and providing environments where feedback can be immediate and constructive to the writing process.

The format for each of the sections on the different writing styles include:

  • purpose
  • text features
  • exemplars
  • links to resources
  • e-learning tools

Check out each of the different writing styles below