Expository Teaching Techniques

Teachers can use a variety of techniques to teach exposition.

One of the basic English skills students need to master is exposition. Exposition is a style that explains factual information in the form of a written report or any type of presentation. Often, an expository assignment is paired with a research project. The key is to ensure students have enough information to include in their exposition. Then, the teacher can use various techniques to instruct students on organizing their information, and even model an expository presentation.

5W Graphic Organizer

The 5W graphic organizer provides a format for students to place information about who, what, when, where and why (or how) something works. For example, if the student is writing an expository essay about annual flowers, he might fill in the name of a person who developed a hybrid for the flower for who; a description of the flower for what; how long the flower has been in existence for when; the locations where the flower is found for where; and plant and care for it for how. The student can fill in this information for several flowers.(http://www.enchantedlearning.com/graphicorganizers/5ws/)

KWL Chart

The KWL chart has the advantage of connecting the factual material to the experience of the individual student. Students divide a page into three columns, and label them K, W and L. Before conducting research, students write down what they know about annual flowers in the K (know) column. Then, they write down what they want to find out in the W (want) column. This provides purpose and direction for their research. After researching the topic, students write down a brief summary of what they learned about annual flowers in the L (learned) column. They can then use the information in an expository presentation.

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Webbing is another way for students to organize information for an expository assignment. To create a web, students place a circle in the center of a paper. The circle is labeled with the topic. To use our example, the words “Annual Flowers” are placed in the circle. The student then draws a line from the center circle, and places another circle at the end. This circle might be labeled “Impatiens.” Spokes from this circle might include colors like white, red and purple along with other facts about impatiens. More lines can be drawn from the center circle for other flowers, and facts included in spokes representing other flowers. (http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/)


Another technique teachers can use to teach exposition is outlining. Students assigned to write about annual flowers might use an introductory paragraph stating that there are many colorful annual flowers used by gardeners, the thesis statement. The introduction can also include background information about annuals. Each body paragraph will then explain one flower, and include three or four details about that flower. In the conclusion, the student will include a restatement of the thesis and possibly a call to action like urging the reader to plant annual flowers. (http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/English/essay/)