Alongside reading and math, writing is one of the most important subjects students need to learn in school. (Of course, as an ELA educator, you already know that!) After all, knowing how to write—and write well—is a skill that will lead students to success in their academic, professional, and even personal lives.

Out of the different writing types, three stand out in particular: narrative, argumentative, and informative. In this post, let’s explore how each one contributes in its own way to help students grow into confident communicators and critical thinkers!

Narrative Writing

Storytelling has always been part of the human experience, even before written language came along. Today, narrative writing is an extension of that great tradition! This type of writing exists to entertain the reader, recount significant events, and express the writer’s inner thoughts and emotions. Like any story, narrative writing follows a sequence of events, though not always linear, and includes key elements like character, setting, plot, and conflict. Narrative writing can take fictional and nonfictional forms, including short stories, novels, biographies, memoirs, and personal essays.

Why teach narrative writing?

  • Organization: Narrative writing requires structure—a beginning, middle, and end. Students learn how to organize their thoughts with clarity and coherence. 
  • Creativity: Students are encouraged to let their imaginations soar! This type of writing gives them space to build worlds, construct plots, and create characters in their own image.
  • Introspection: Writing narratives gives students time to reflect on their lives and examine their emotions and experiences.
  • Empathy: Reading narratives by other writers helps students explore different experiences and viewpoints, which is crucial for social and emotional development.

Argumentative Writing

Argumentative writing is all about making a case. Here, a writer presents a claim about a particular topic and shares evidence and reasoning to support their view, all with the goal of changing the reader’s mind or convincing them to take action on the subject. A good argumentative piece also considers and refutes counterarguments to strengthen the original claim. 

Why teach argumentative writing?

  • Rhetoric: Sometimes evidence isn’t enough to sway an opinion. Using rhetorical devices effectively can significantly strengthen students' claims through emotional, logical, and personal appeals, transforming a basic argumentative piece into a compelling one.
  • College and Career Prep: This type of writing is a staple in higher education and many careers students may pursue. From drafting a persuasive essay for college admissions, presenting a business proposal, or simply participating in civic discussions, the ability to argue successfully will set students apart from the rest.
  • Self-Affirmation: Knowing how to build and defend an argument boosts students’ confidence in their ability to participate in debates and discussions. Self-assured students are more likely to advocate for their ideas outside the classroom.
  • Structure: Argumentative writing doesn’t work without good organization of ideas. Students must logically structure their essays, checking that each point flows smoothly into the next and that all arguments are properly connected.

Informative Writing

Unlike narrative writing, which tells a story, or argumentative writing, which aims to persuade, informative writing focuses on delivering knowledge. It’s all about presenting facts, explaining ideas, and conveying information to educate the reader about a topic. Research papers, reports, and how-to guides are all examples of this type of writing.

Why teach informative writing?

  • Research: Informative writing teaches students how to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information from multiple sources.
  • Knowledge: Research often leads students down informational rabbit holes. Exposure to a wide range of topics builds students’ general knowledge and helps them develop a well-rounded view of the world.
  • Critical Thinking: When writing an informative piece, students must pick out credible sources, separate fact from opinion, and identify key discussion points—all tasks that require strong critical thinking skills.
  • Clarity: Clear and concise language is key to informative writing. Students learn how to organize their thoughts logically and share them in a manner that’s easy to understand.

College and Career Readiness: Writing

As we’ve learned, no matter their paths after high school, your students will benefit from a strong set of writing skills. With College and Career Readiness: Writing, setting them on the road to success is simple. 

Intended to be used as a core writing curriculum, this comprehensive program for grades 9-12 guides students through the process of crafting exceptional pieces in four sections:

  • Personal Writing (narrative)
  • Informative Writing (informative, of course)
  • Persuasive Writing (argumentative)
  • Research Projects

Writing assignments throughout train students for real-world application. For instance, the Personal Writing section prepares students for narrative writing tasks they’re likely to see outside the classroom, like admissions essays or personal statements for professional roles. Students might be asked to describe a significant event, such as when they overcame an obstacle or achieved a personal goal. College and Career Readiness: Writing guides them through the entire prompt, starting from selecting a topic all the way to the final draft. Model essays help students learn how to analyze, critique, and refine their own work.

College and Career Readiness: Writing is recursive. At each grade level, students revisit the same types and purposes of writing, but each level requires more mature thinking and reasoning, increased sophistication of thought and expression, and greater confidence and competence.

Upon completing a range of tasks, from the briefest journal entry to a full-fledged research paper, your students will have the skills necessary to be college- and career-ready.