We are in an age of endless information. Teaching students how to identify key details in all the swirling information presented to them is no easy task! With practice, learners will be able to use facts, definitions, and examples in their own writing. Let’s inform ourselves on everything there is to know about informational writing in 1st and 2nd grade.
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What are the 5 types of informational writing in 1st & 2nd grade?
1. Expository Writing
In expository writing, a student will explain the facts they have discovered about their writing topic.
In 1st and 2nd grade, writers are learning how to introduce a topic with a topic sentence, list 2-3 supporting facts, and provide a conclusion. Most of the informational text we read, like this very blog post, news articles, and literary nonfiction are all examples of expository writing.
Check out our blog post on the best ways to introduce informational writing.
2. How-To (or Procedural) Writing
The simple How-to Guide to How-To Writing in 2nd grade:
- Pick a topic or task
- Put the steps to complete that task in the correct order, from beginning to end
- Write in short, clear sentences. Illustrations are helpful, too.
- Congratulations, you’ve completed a how-to writing piece!
Biographies are a fun way to teach the art of informational writing. It’s a chance to get students reading, researching, using technology, interviewing, and writing – all with one project. Plus, there are lots of fun and easy biography projects to do with students.
4. Question/ Answer
Questions. Little learners have a lot of questions – and that curiosity is a great thing! Help satisfy their curiosity by exploring Question/Answer informational writing. Students can pick a question they want to answer, and research and provide information to answer the question. The Question and Answer style of informational writing pairs nicely when teaching kids to ask and answer questions about nonfiction text.
Reporting on a topic students just studied is a great way to deepen new learning! Who says reports have to be bland and boring? Go here for creative ideas to teach report writing to 1st and 2nd grade students.
4 Informational Writing Prompts for 2nd Grade
Need writing prompts for informational writing? We’ve got you covered! Check out these great suggestions:
1. All About…
Ask any student, and they are an expert about something! Video games, sea turtles, macaroni and cheese – who knows what else! In this All About writing prompt, the student will pick a card about a topic they know a lot about. The graphic organizer will help students write a topic sentence, two facts, and a conclusion. Or try this Teaching My Talent worksheet!
2. Pulling Facts
Information can be learned from various types of media: books, magazines, videos, podcast, and more. Giving students exposure to different types of media will help them master how to extract the facts from each. Lucky Learners will love to check out this digital informational writing center. In it, students will watch a quick video, and write 3 facts about the subject in the digital organizer.
3. Animal Report
Have fun learning about an arctic animal of your choice. This graphic organizer will help students present the important facts and illustrate their own animal.
4. Piece of Cake!
Knowing the right facts isn’t always a piece of cake – but it can be if students practice with this writing center that matches fact and definition statements with the correct topic categories.
7 Informational Writing Projects and Activities
1. How-To Make a S’more
As a class, go over the basic steps to make a s’more. Then, have each student write a how-to piece on how to make the perfect s’more (do they like charred marshmallows? Soft and gooey? Peanut butter instead of chocolate? The possibilities are endless!). Have each student share their how-to and s’more recipe with the class. Then, make s’mores together to celebrate!
This How-To Writing Checklist is perfect for young learners!
Putting things in order of when they happened is an important part of informational text writing. Have students practice this skill by writing a sequential explanation of how they get ready for school each morning. Write and illustrate, and share with the class. If students need practice with the skill of sequencing, Toothy is a fun way to do it!
Download Character Traits Toothy HERE
3. Peer Interview
Place students in pairs to interview each other. You can provide a template of interview questions, or have students create their own. Once students have interviewed their partners, everyone will write an informational piece on what they learned about their new friend. Put it into an “All About Our Class” Book. Download the student interview questions here.
4. When I Grow Up
Have students choose a career that interests them. Write an informational piece about the skills needed and challenges of this job.
5. Class Magazine
Publish your own class magazine! Have students practice creating their own nonfiction text elements such as diagrams, illustrations, timelines, maps, and captions. Choose a topic for the magazine, and have each student become a “reporter.” They can select what element they would like to contribute to the magazine.
For practice, check out this 2nd grade comprehension reading center in which students will match up problem and solutions on task cards. They will also identify problems and solutions in chosen books. Then, have students identify a problem at school (ex: The library needs new books, the water fountains don’t work, etc), and list solutions to solve that problem.
For this activity, prepare two bags/boxes, each with an assortment or random objects. The sillier the better (happy meal toys, desk supplies, math manipulatives, small trinkets – really, anything goes!). Have students pull one object out of each bag, then compare and contrast the objects with this graphic organizer.
Teaching our students how to read, write, and report accurate and factual information is a skill that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. With these meaningful writing projects, students will become experts in the age of ever-changing information. What informational writing projects have you used with your students? Tell us in the comments below!