The Expository Text

TheExpository Text


Expositorytext refers to any form of writing that is used to give, describe,inform, as well, as explain information. It is the nonfictioninformational text. It defines a text that provides the relevantfacts and gives the correct information that explains, informs,persuades, and describes various topics and phenomena (McCormack andPasquarelli, 2009). Almost all the texts that are used in thesecondary school classroom are all expository texts in nature. Mostof the printed materials are also expository texts provided they givea precise definition of the required information provide thenecessary comparisons and contrasts, the required solution to theidentified problem among other features. Such materials includenewspaper reports, directions, magazine articles, textbook forstudents, lab procedures, and legal documents among others. Thesetexts rely on the use facts and details, and also opinions andexamples to convince and put across the required information. Writers of any expository text should clarify every details of his orher work assuming that the reader or listener has priorunderstanding or knowledge of the topic may lead to high levels ofconfusion when reading the text. This paper will focus on theadvantages and disadvantages of expository text, possible uses ofexpository text in promoting understanding and learning in middleschool, as well as a graphic organizer to be incorporated togetherwith expository text in middle school.

Advantagesof using expository texts

Expositorytexts are the widest source of information available since quite agood number of available source materials are non-fictional and areexpository in nature. These texts cannot be avoided as they areapplicable in everyday activities. In the secondary school level, allthe exams that students are subjected to are expository in nature.The workplaces are also full of expository texts because articleslike the prospectus, reports, and memos take this nature.

Ithelps activate the previously acquired background knowledge.Researchers have found that enhancement of comprehension is possibleonly if the readers can activate their previous knowledge they havealready learnt or if they try to establish connections to thebackground knowledge (Brown, 2002). The teacher should initially askquestions related the topic to determine if the students have thebasic knowledge concerning the topic in question. If the teacherrealizes that the students have forgotten the required basicknowledge, then he or she should incorporate some expository texts inhis or her explanation.

Theexpository text helps the reader to generate questions related to thetopic and try to come up with solutions normally before and after thereading aids comprehension. The students will always ask questionsthat start with what, does and why (Block and Parris, 2008). Thestudents should critically study the text structure of any giveninformation so that they will know the kind of questions to ask.Expository texts are in different structures that students shouldfamiliarize themselves with.

Becausethese texts are in different structures, they enable the students todevelop skills on how to analyze the structure of a text. This, inturn, helps such students to know how information is organized in anyexpository text. The signal word that most writers employ guides thestudents on the kind of structure a text has taken.

Additionally,expository text helps the student to create mental images. Accordingto Pressley (2002), this creation of mental images when one isreading a text enables the reader to enhance the comprehensionskills. Comprehension is only possible if a mental picture has beencreated.

Lastly,expository texts enable the reader to develop summarizing skills.There’s a positive impact on comprehension as far as summarizingthe main ideas in a text is concerned.

Disadvantagesof using expository texts

Expositorytexts pose a challenge to students in comprehending them. To startwith, expository texts have numerous structures and contentinformation that is unique to most students who were initiallyfamiliar with the narrative texts. There is inconsistency andunpredictability of the organization and the expository text becausethe students are meeting this text for the first time, they mighttake some time to read and learn them (Pressley, 2002). Thesevocabularies make studying the text more complex because of thetechnical language that makes them less colorful. The students mightbe required to learn the new vocabularies and come up with the newstrategies necessary in comprehending these texts. These vocabularieshelp understand the new concepts and terms that may be introducedlater in that particular text. Therefore, these texts have noidentifiable elements that make the reader get the concepts faster.

Again,most students find the text hard to process and they often study itwith the unpleasant expectation. Because of these complicated nature,students might require specialized learning and study skills.

Besides,expository texts offer limited perspective even though they may havemany authors as well as credible research. Unlike, narrative orfictional texts that have a high likelihood of containing theperspectives of other characters, expository texts presentinformation from one point of view. It does not matter whether theperspective of an expository text is accurate or not, the fact remainthat such a perspective is always limited. For instance, anexpository text may present a text on an indigenous tribe that wasdiscovered in the Amazon in the recent past from a visitingoutsider’s perspective. On the other hand, a narrative text has ahigh likelihood of imagining and presenting the perspective of one ofthe member of the tribal as well. Thus, an expository text givereaders the chance to view article from only the visitor’perspective or point of view.

Further,the scope of study in expository texts is limited. This is becausethese texts are always structured in accordance to a specificstructure, like compare and contrast. As such, these scopes have ahigh chance of missing events, occurrences, or vital details thathappen at the same time. Expository texts’ sequential nature iswell illustrated and portrayed in most history textbooks. Forinstance, most of these history books only state facts about anevent, like a famous battle.

Applicationof expository texts in middle school content classroom

Ina secondary school level, expository texts challenge the students inreading them. It poses a challenge to the teachers and students todevelop strategies that help them understand what these texts. Thisis because various strategies these students have previouslydeveloped are only useful in comprehending fictional narratives.Since most students were used to narrative texts in their elementaryschool level, they should develop new strategies that will help themanalyze the expository texts. Such strategies include the StructuredReading Lesson (SRL) where the reading activities are structured in away that the student can conceptualize all the activities that tookplace before, during and after the reading phases. The students,therefore, ought to be guided in the perfect way possible to have theskills and develop the required interest that will help them dobetter in analyzing the expository texts (Wilhelm, 2001).


Graphicorganizers enable the reader with the necessary knowledge on how todevelop different structures in the practicum activities (McCormackand Pasquarelli, 2009). For instance, there are the classificationstructures that can list and categorize information. If one wants toclassify the types of dairy cows, there can be Friesian, Ayrshire,Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Jersey, and Milking Shorthorn.



Dairy cows

riesian Ayrshire

Jersey BrownSwiss


Process 3

econdly are the sequential structures that arrange therequired information in a chronological manner or any other relevantsequence.

Process 1

Process 2

Thirdly,there are cause-effect structures that are responsible for organizinginformation according to the causes and effects of a certainphenomenon. The causes may be many, and that facilitates the use ofstructures.

Effect 1


Effect 2

Effect 3

Fourthlyare the comparison-contrast structures that organize informationaccording to the differences and similarities between objects orfacts under consideration.




Lastlyare the problem-solution structures that arrange informationaccording to problems, actions, and the suggested solutions.





Ina recap,expositorytexts have widely been used in middle school to help students graspwhat they have previously studied. However, these types of textslimit readers to certain facts only. Use of graphic organizertogether with expository texts play a key role in helping studentsexcels in their studies.


Block,C.C &amp Parris, S.R. (2008). ComprehensionInstruction. Research-Based Best Practices.New Yolk. Guilford.

Brown,C.C. (2002). Straddlingtwo worlds. Self-directed Comprehension Instruction for MiddleSchoolers.New Yolk. Guilford.

McCormack,L.R &amp Pasquarelli, L.S. (2009).Teaching Reading. Strategies and Resources for Grades K-6.Guilford Press.

Pressley,M. (2002). ComprehensionStrategies Instruction. A Turn-of-the-Century StatusReport.New Yolk. Guilford.

Wilhelm,J. (2001). It’sa Guy Thing. Voices from the Middle, 9,2, 60-63.