When I was doing research on the expository genre for my genre presentation next week, I found myself questioning if I did enough instruction concerning expository reading and writing in my own classroom. Did my students even know what the word expository meant? Did they know what type of books would be considered expository? Have they ever read an expository text? Have they ever written an expository piece before?
I assumed that the answer to many of my questions was yes to some extent. But once I learned more about the expository genre myself, I felt compelled to teach my students more about it and implement it more into our daily reading and writing activities. I thought I would start small by introducing what a non-fiction or expository text is. I gave every one of my students a weekly reader that they are all very familiar with from this year and last year as first graders. They knew that the information that they would be reading about was true but they were uncertain of what the specific genre was. After we discussed the similarities and differences between fiction and non-fiction, as a class we slowly went through the weekly reader together. As we read along, I began to point out some of the non-fiction text features that could be seen throughout the weekly reader. Many of the students were already familiar with the features but were somewhat uncertain of the purpose of each. So I explain why we need each specific text feature to help us understand and read expository text. When we were done reading the weekly reader, I had the students take a few post- its and write three things they learned from the reading and three things that they had questions about or were still wondering about. I wanted my students to see that you can still make a lot of connections from expository books or readings as well as from fiction stories that we read. After I had them put their post- its into columns depending on if it was an "I learned" statement or an "I wonder" statement. I began to think that these post-its could lead to an expository writing piece from having many of their ideas and facts on a certain topic down on paper and easy to organize. With these post-its the students could decide to write a report on the topic that we read about and could broaden their knowledge of the topic with doing research of their "I wonder" statements. This idea then led me to thinking about how to teach my second graders about basic research skills through books and the internet. I believe that with my support and guidance that they would be able to complete their research and find the answers to their questions. Once the answers are found, we could then write reports to inform people about a certain topic that we have been studying in school.
There are just so many options that can happen when using expository text within your classroom. My presentation has got me thinking so many possibilities! I will keep you posted on how this little endeavor goes!