Common text types
The most common text types that students will come across in their reading are the following:
- Narrative text tells a story, and can be either fiction or nonfiction. Narrative texts typically have a beginning, middle, and end, and they use characters, setting, and plot to create the story.
- Descriptive text creates a picture with words, using vivid language to describe people, places, things, or events. Descriptive text can be found in a variety of genres, including essays and poetry.
- Expository text explains or informs, by presenting facts, definitions, or processes in a clear and concise way. Expository text can be found in a variety of genres, including textbooks, news articles, and informational books for children — for example, visual encyclopedias and pictorial information books such as the DK and National Geographic series.
- Procedural or instructional text explains how to do something through step-by-step explanations, often accompanied by numbered diagrams, illustrations, or photographs. Recipes and how-to-build Playmobil® and Lego® kits are common examples.
- Argumentative or persuasive text tries to persuade the reader to agree with a particular point of view, by using evidence, logic, and reasoning to support the claims. Argumentative text can be found in essays, editorials, and speeches.
NOTE: Text types should not be confused with text structures, which are discussed in the sections below.
|Common Text Structures
|Tells a story
Characters, setting, plot, conflict, resolution.
The text includes description and a sequence of events unfolding over time.
|Picture books, chapter books, short stories, plays, biography and memoir
|Paints a picture with words
Vivid language, sensory details.
The text focuses on providing details about a person, place, object, or event using sensory language.
|Explains or informs
Facts, definitions, processes.
The text often includes headings, subheadings, and may use bullet points or numerical listings.
|Textbooks, news articles, pictorial informational books
|Procedural or Instructional
|Provides instructions on how to do something
The text often includes diagrams or illustrations to help the reader follow the instructions.
|Recipes, user manuals, building kit instructions, and DIY guides
|Argumentative or Persuasive
|Persuades the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action
Evidence, logic, reasoning.
The text includes arguments, provides evidence, and utilizes rhetorical techniques to influence the reader’s opinion.
|Essays, editorials, speeches