Term of Art: Expository Writing

“expository writing: A term that refers to informational writing typically given during the first year of college to prepare first-year students for academic writing. Generally, entering first-year students will take at least one semester of expository writing. Some colleges require a two-semester sequence of expository writing courses.

In some cases, students with writing problems may be required to complete developmental or basic writing courses before they can enter the expository writing course.

Expository writing includes description, comparison/contrast, definition, classification, argument, process analysis, and cause-and-effect. These types of writing or rhetorical strategies may be taught using models and examples, and as ends in themselves, or as strategies to use within informational essays that include a number of different patterns.

In general, the goal of teaching these types of writing patterns is to provide a foundation for the kinds of text-based writing required in specific academic disciplines.

Expository writing may be contrasted with expressive writing or the personal essay, in which students are allowed to focus on their own experience, perceptions, and memories. Much more than expressive writing, expository writing may pose problems for individuals with learning disability who may find it difficult to organize ideas, support main ideas with details, or apply paragraph and essay structures.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

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