Lesson: Introduction to Expository Writing

Susan Fields Epiphany School, Ma Dorchester Center, MA
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Lesson Objective

SWBAT define expository writing and list the steps to compose an expository report; write an expository paragraph together.

Lesson Plan


Have students recall definitions for other writing genres. 

T: Who remembers what a narrative is?

S: story that has a conflict, resolution

T: What about a descriptive paragraph?

S: describes a person, place, or thing in great detail. No conflict.

T: Okay, today we’re going to learn about expository writing.  Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what it is? I could write an expository paragraph about frogs, about September 11, about MLK.

S: like a report?

T: Yes, a report.  Get out your note taking template, and let’s look at this further.


Introduction to New Material:

Have students take out expository writing notes handout and let them fill in the blanks as you offer the information.

An expository paragraph is a REPORT.  It is based on a series of facts from a variety of resources.




1>  Read resources (books, articles, internet) and take notes.



2>  Pull out 10 interesting details and list them in your own words.



3>  Look for an apparent connection between the details.  You may have to eliminate some of the details.  Craft a topic sentence that states that connection (or main idea).



4>  Number details in a sensible order and write a draft.


Guided Practice:

  • Teacher asks students to take turns reading the bio article on Christopher Paul Curtis (the author of the Watsons Go To Birmingham). 
  • Teacher models how to take main idea notes in the margins.  (This is something we’ve been practicing all year, so kids are very familiar with the process.)
  • Teacher and students continue reading the article and taking notes.
  • Teacher asks, “After note taking, what’s the next step in completing an expository report?” Student looks at resource and responds, “Pull out 10 interesting details.”
  • Teacher models by pulling out a detail interesting to her.  She writes it on the expository lines handout. “I’m going to write that Curtis worked in a factory for 10 years before becoming a writer. Take out your expository lines handout and write this for your first interesting detail.”
  • Teacher asks, “Anyone else find something interesting that we could add to our list?” Students take turns volunteering details.  Teacher makes sure to phrase students’ responses in their own language, as not to plagiarize the article.
  • Once the 10 details are assembled, teacher asks, “Does anyone notice a connection between the details?  Is there something they all have in common?” Students may notice that Curtis lives a normal life, that he clearly has a passion for writing, or that his work reflects his own life.
  • Students and teacher compose a topic sentence based on that connection.  The topic sentence might read: Christopher Paul Curtis has always had a passion for writing.
  • Teacher asks students to eliminate details that do NOT contribute to that main idea.  Teacher might have students pull out more details from article, if needed. 
  • Students then number the details. Teacher discusses how this order may be chronological or order of importance.  Students then begin drafting on a sheet of notebook paper.



Independent Practice:

Students complete draft and then answer the following questions:

What is expository writing?


List as many steps of writing an expository report as you can recall.

Lesson Resources

expository writing notes handout  
watsons Christopher Paul Curtis bio  
5 Ws  
watsons The Sixteenth Street Church Bombing  
watsons Selma to Montgomery  
16th Street Church Bombing Quiz  


Folake Oyekan Posted 2 months ago:

Thank you so much.

Phina Ihesiaba Posted 11 months ago:

I needed this! Great Thanks

Nikia Seay Posted 3 years ago:

 This is a wonderful lesson! I am going to bring it full circle by showing the movie!

Marie Winchester Posted 5 years ago:
Thank you Thank you! This plan is wonderful.



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