You may be scratching your head when it comes to all the different kinds of writing types you are responsible for teaching to your students, narrative, opinion, informational… Look no further! Keep reading to clear the air.
What is the difference between narrative, opinion, and informational writing? Read this post to get an easy-to-understand explanation & tips!
What is the Difference Between Narrative, Opinion, and Informational Writing?
Narrative writing, in its simplest form, is storytelling. It can be fictional or nonfiction. Narrative pieces contain characters, a setting, and a conflict. They are meant to entertain the readers and share a tale.
There are two kinds of narrative writing pieces that you will have to teach your students, personal and fictional.
Click here to check out my narrative writing prompts.
A fictional narrative is a story that comes from your imagination. Many students will love writing fictional stories because it allows them to let their creativity flow, and they can be silly. Example: The Day the Cat Jumped Out the Window or The Monster That Lives In My Closet.
A personal narrative is a story that has happened in your life. I find that these kinds of pieces are simpler for children to write because they just have to tell you about something that has happened to them. Example: Tell me about your winter break, tell me about what you did on the weekend, etc.
Opinion writing is when students must support an opinion they have about a topic. I think opinion pieces are a great way to get to know your student’s likes and dislikes. Some will be very passionate about things, while other students will be calmer and more reserved.
I personally believe that opinion pieces are a great way to introduce writing to students since they all have opinions about things. Don’t overthink your prompts; simple ones like, ‘Do you like cats or dogs better?’, ‘Cake or cookies?’, ‘Markers or crayons?’.
Students share their opinion and then provide reasons to support it (for example, they will share a few reasons why they think cats are better than dogs).
Click here to check out my opinion writing prompts.
Informational writing is factual and aims to inform or explain something to the reader.
Students can have trouble with informational writing pieces because they may feel that they don’t know enough information about a subject to write a whole paper about it. Or at that moment, they can’t think of something to share about.
Click here to check out my informational writing prompts!
Informational writing pieces are often about things like animals, countries, cultures, or events. Students can also write about weather, sports, people, and places. Scientific or geographic topics often feature (for example, students write about plants or the ocean).
Sometimes students might just share facts that they know, but most often they need to research the topic and present the facts.
Similarities & Differences between Narrative, Opinion, and Informational Writings
Similarities & Differences
- narrative and opinion pieces share information from your students, while informational works are facts about a topic
- narrative writing has characters, a plot, a setting, and a conflict, while opinion and information do not
- opinion and informational pieces do not allow the students to use their imagination, while narratives are a great tool to expand imaginations
- all the writing types are wonderful tools to see into your student’s lives and get to know them better
Writing Features of Narrative, Opinion, and Informational Writing
Narrative writings may contain all or some of the following features.
- point of view
Opinion pieces may contain all or some of the following features.
- stated opinion
- facts/reasons to support the opinion
Informational works may contain all or some of the following features.
- clear topic or theme
- descriptions or details about the topic
Some great mentor texts of narrative writings
- Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
- When Father Comes Home by Sarah Jung
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
- Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
- Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
Some good options for mentor texts for opinion writing are
- I Love Insects by Lizzy Rockwell
- Don’t Feed the Bear by Kathleen Doherty
- The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan
- Be Glad Your Dad Is Not an Octopus by Matthew Logelin
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Check out more mentor texts for opinion writing here!
These are some mentor texts that are great options for informational writing
- Hurricanes by Gail Gibbons
- Milk: From Cow to Carton by Aliki
- A Frog’s Life by Irene Kelly
- Teeth by Sneed B. Collard
- The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
Stay tuned for a list of my favorite informational mentor texts.
You may be overwhelmed with all this information and wondering how you are going to teach all these writing genres in one year! Relax! I have created tons of writing resources for kindergarten through fifth grade!
Check out my free resources here!
Click the pictures to see my writing prompts bundles to get everything you need for a whole year of writing!
Have a terrific day,
P.S. If you need some Informational Writing Prompts for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, or fifth grade, check out my post here!
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