Picture of pencil and paper on banner saying Informative or Explanatory Texts


Section 0004 requires those taking the CST to demonstrate a proficiency in writing informational text as well as the pedagogical knowledge necessary to teach students strategies for creating informtive and explanatory texts. The purpose of this kind of writing might be to examine a topic, to convey ideas, concepts, and other information, and to summarize and reflect upon specific texts, such as academic articles, seminal U.S.documents, or texts that provide information about specific cultures and points of view.

Teachers of writing must know how to use and also teach specific strategies for creating informative/explanatory essays. This includes knowledge of how to write clearly main ideas, supporting details, and effective text structure. At the same time, writers must also demonstrate a clear purpose and point of view.

 Poster showing expository text structures such as sequence, cause & effect, compare & contrast


Performance Expectations: Competent teachers of English Language Arts must demonstrate that they can: 

Expository writing is to-the-point and factual. This category of writing includes definitions, instructions, explanations, clarifications, directions, comparisons/contrasts, and classifications. There are many types of explanatory and informative writing. The following chart explains the most common patterns that students will be asked to write.

Chart showing types of informational writing, a description of each, and transition words to signal each type

Source: (See this website for examples of each type):


Besides teaching students to write informative and explanatory paragraphs and essays for differing purposes, it is important to teach them to organize thier essays so that their points and supporting evidence are clearly presented. Graphic organizers such as the following can be used

a graphic organizer to help students plan an expository (explanatory) essay


Using evidence to support explanations: One of the shifts in the Common Core Standards is an emphasis upon providing evidence in all explanatory and informational writing. This is particularly necessary if students are using informational and explanatory text to analyze a piece of literature. See the quiz popper below to test yourself on this important skill.


 Source: (ncte/ira)