Introduction to Expository Writing: Ideas for Showing Students the Importance of Expository Essays

Expository writing may be less than creative but is incredibly important and useful. This assignment allows a little fun into the formulaic world of expository writing.

Expository writing requires a conscious application of critical thinking skills with its step-by-step sequential process. Writing directions or explaining how something works clearly is what good expository writing is all about.

Learning to present facts clearly while developing the main idea is a traditional expository writing lesson. A way to reach into the heart of the matter for students who ask to write my essay is to give them an assignment that surprises them with its clear message. The message (lesson) is taught by using dramatic measures.

Expository Writing

Identifying main ideas and supporting facts is an important first step for students. Once they are able to pick out the main idea and its supporting facts from a piece of writing, the next step for them is to begin developing their own main idea.

Writing Process

There are four traditional ways to develop the main idea in an expository piece:

  • examples
  • comparison and contrast
  • definition and explanation
  • cause and effect

Students can work on applying different expository strategies by using these four steps to clearly develop a subject. For example, a student can give examples when comparing two different sports (team sports versus one-on-one sports) while comparing and contrasting them. The definition and explanation of both sports will further define the idea, while cause and effect can help the writer define each sport while explaining the effects of the sports on the people involved.

Being able to clearly express an idea or topic by using these strategies will help students use detailed information in their writing in clear steps that will reach their objectives.

Writing Workshop

While this assignment can be given as early as fourth grade, it works extremely well with middle and high school students.

Give a simple assignment to the online learning class without any extra explanation. For example, tell the students to write the directions for one of the following chores:

  • write out the steps of how to make a peanut butter sandwich
  • write out the steps of how to bathe the family dog
  • write out the steps of how to make scrambled eggs
  • write out the steps of how to plant a flower

Give the students enough time to write the directions. Do not warn them about the importance of the clarity of each step. Simply give them the chance to write the directions at will.

Once the students have finished their writing, break them into teams of two. Each writer will have a partner. Each team will have the chance to perform the steps outlined in the directions. One team member will read the directions while the second team member will perform them.

After several readings, it will become clear to the class that as each “actor” is acting out exactly what the directions say, it is obvious to all that expository writing must be exact and precise beyond what most students have been used to writing.

Writing Help

Once the group has had a chance to see how important each word in expository writing has become, the lesson becomes crystal clear. Each team will have a chance to show its writing and acting skills, mostly making the class laugh with the absurdity of the missing actions due to improper expository writing skills.

Allow the class another chance to write directions clearly and concisely, now that they understand how important each word, each line, and each direction has become.

About the author: Jared Watney is a professional writer on Besides, he is a passionate stories writer. In this case, he dreams of self-publishing his book. Moreover, Jared started drawing images for it by himself.


Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets. You may also want to check out my other blogs IELTS Practice and NCERT Guides

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.