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Informational/Expository Student Writing Sample- Grade 4


7-Day Process Piece Student Sample Grade 4

One way that I found to ease the tremendous stress of a research project was to break it into manageable chunks for my students. Upon introducing the topic or subject of writing we began by creating a list of everything we knew about the topic and then sorting and categorizing that list.  

Process Writing Lesson Procedure.P

Our journey into the research then became much easier to manage. Students focused on one aspect of the big topic and then began to notice severa l smaller main ideas that matched each focused area. Students found information about the main ideas and then it was time to write. The following piece of exposition is a result of   breaking the writing process down into small chunks   and wr iting one section of the piece each day for a total of seven days ( see the Expository/Informative Writing Summarizing Framework . ) In the real world, authors do not just write in one big blur, or what some might call flash drafts.  They in fact write a section, reflect on that section, and revise it as they go. That is exactly what my students were able to do quite successfully.

What really works in this piece:


Note the use of informative verbs and the way the author states each main idea in this introduction paragraph.


Note the use of “word referents” instead of “the horseshoe crab…the horseshoe crab…the horseshoe crab…”  The author uses the productive questions  “What does it look like, why is it important?”  to add meaningful detail to support the main idea – appearance.


The student states the main idea of this paragraph as a question.  This is one strategy taught for revising boring main idea sentences.  Note the use of an anecdote to provide interesting detail to support the main idea – habitat.


In the conclusion paragraph, the author uses a hypothetical anecdote, informative verbs, a definitive phrase, word referents, and a general restatement of the topic sentence.  All of these are strategies taught in EW instruction.

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4th grade nonfiction writing samples

by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: June 21, 2018

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In fourth grade, students are starting to prepare for middle school, when nonfiction writing is practiced in all subjects. What’s more, under the Common Core Standards, nonfiction writing is more and more essential to the curriculum. Learn more about your fourth grader’s writing under Common Core . According to the standards, students should be learning three types of writing:

Informative/explanatory writing

Like a report, the purpose of this type of writing is to convey information accurately with facts, details, and supportive information.

These can be stories or screenplays or other fiction written in the first, second, or third person.

Opinion pieces

In opinion writing, students encourage readers to accept their opinion about something by writing what they and why.

Fourth grade writing sample #1

John Cabot and the Rediscovery of North America

In this child’s report on John Cabot, you’ll see a few important features. First, there are five sections, each with a bolded header announcing what sort of information follows. Note that the fifth section is the bibliography, where everyone can see the two sources this student relied on for her information.

Type of writing: Informative/explanatory writing

Fourth grade writing sample #2

Big Book of Evolution

Dylan’s report on evolution is also divided into sections. Note that Dylan uses visuals throughout this report. What’s more, the report has a table of contents at the beginning, and at the end, Dylan cites his sources for the written information and the visuals.

Fourth grade writing sample #3

A Tale of Despereaux

This is a classic fourth grade book report. Note that the student uses headers to announce what type of information follows: the summary, the characters, and the writer’s recommendation about the book.

Fourth grade writing sample #4

Zoos Should Close

This student writes an opinion piece about why she thinks zoos should close. Note that she cites multiple reasons with examples of why zoos aren’t good for animals. She also addresses a counterargument and refutes it, which isn’t actually required until seventh and eighth grade.

Type of writing: Opinion writing

See more examples of real kids’ writing in different grades: Kindergarten , first grade , second grade , third grade , fifth grade .

4th grade informative essay examples

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Student Writing Samples

Annotated student writing samples illustrating the integration of content understanding and writing in the three types of writing expected by college- and career-ready standards, including the CCSS. The resources presented are from  In Common: Effective Writing for All Students , authored by the Vermont Writing Collaborative with Student Achievement Partners and CCSSO. There are two types of resources available:

Learn more about In Common.

Resources specifically designed to support understanding and development of CCR-aligned writing

Filter by category

To find out how mini-assessment questions align to particular standards, use the Literacy Mini-Assessment Sorter Microsoft Excel file Learn More

Results (13)

Informative/Explanatory Writing: On-Demand ©

The pieces in this On-Demand section represent one of the three types of writing named in the Common Core State Standards for Writing: …

Grades K–5

Informative/Explanatory Writing: On-Demand

Grades 6–12

Informative/Explanatory: Range of Writing

These pieces represent a wide variety of content areas, curriculum units, conditions for writing, and purposes.  They reflect Comm…

Grades 9–10

Grades 11–12


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