Expository Text Unit

by Beth Paradis and Sara Phelan

Unit Outline-Expository Text

Clink on the link below to access the unit outline.

  1. Where to Begin
  • Learning Concepts
        • Understanding what is expository text.
        • Understanding a fact in an expository text.
        • Understanding an opinion in an expository text.
Knowledge dimensions- factual, conceptual, attitudinal, and procedural
Cognitive processes- understand, apply, and create
Learning Outcomes-
Students should know vocabulary related to expository text to help understand expository text.
Student names all the characteristics related to expository text.
  • Tells about real people, places, or events.
  • Uses facts and details.
  • Often uses text features, such as photos, captions, and headings.

Student analyzes two samples of text and writes or recites if the texts are expository or not.
Teacher connection-
Teacher is familiar with expository text and the vocabulary associated with it. Teacher has taught concepts related to this unit.
Teacher Readiness:
For the teacher to be ready to teach this unit they need to be familiar with student background knowledge.
The teacher should ask herself:
  • What is my knowledge of this content?
  • What is the students’ prior knowledge of the concepts?
  • What are the students’ interests in terms of the concept being introduced?
  • How will I introduce the vocabulary needed to understand the text?
  • How will I begin the lesson? What will my hook be?
  • Will I use whole-group instruction, small-group instruction, or both, and when?
  • Do I have all of the materials I need?
  • Have I included all student accommodations into the lessons?

2. What is Differentiated

Content-Student readiness should be:
  • Knowledge of what fictional text is. Be able to differentiate between fictional and expository text. (See activity 3a.)
Students need to know what fictional text is so that they can differentiate fiction from expository.
  • Social Studies vocabulary associated with the text. (producers, consumers, demands) (See Anchoring Activity)
Students need to be familiar with the words used in the expository text so that they can comprehend and make connections.
  • The connection between producers and consumers.
Students will be able to sort and/or match a producer to a consumer. The teacher will take photos of producers and consumers.
Activity Example: There would be a picture of a little boy who loves drinking orange juice and then a picture of an orange grove and farmer. The student will match the two pictures together because the boy is the consumer and the farmer is the producer.Students can also label the producer and the consumer.


-The teacher will have these questions on chart paper posted around the classroom, and will add the students background knowledge to each paper. Depending on the age level of the students, students may be able to add their own information to the charts in small groups. This can be revisited after the completion of the lesson as a post assessment.

-What is expository text?
  • Tells about real people, places, or events.
  • Uses facts and details.
  • Often uses text features, such as photos, captions, and headings.

-What is fictional text?
  • a literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact

-What is a fact?
  • a statement that is true

-What is an opinion?
  • a personal belief or judgment

-What are producers?
  • A person, company, or country that makes, grows, or supplies goods for sale.

-What are consumers?
  • A person who purchases goods and services for personal use.

-What are demands?
  • The amount of goods that a consumer wants to purchase at a certain price.

Mini- Lesson- (whole group)

Teaching of the introductory lesson:
1. Teacher will (TW) introduce expository text.
2. TW discuss the key features of expository text (Listed above.)
3. TW read the story "Scarcity" by Janeen R. Adil.
4. As the teacher is reading the story, the teacher will monitor comprehension through background knowledge by asking the students questions.
5. TW review key features of expository text with students by asking them to give examples from the text.

3. How will Students learn

Through the anchoring activity students will discuss their background knowledge of expository text, producers, and consumers. At the end of the unit, students will revisit the activity and measure their growth of knowledge by adding to the chart papers they created at the beginning of the unit. Students can also cross out prior knowledge they had that was incorrect or misinformed and replace it with their new knowledge.

**The following are activities to aid in student learning throughout the unit:

*Activities: (small groups)

*These activities can be either done in a whole group or small group.*

*These activities do not have to be tiered.*

Mixed Grouping activities:

Introductory activities for Fact and Opinion:
-3a.) The teacher will read two different samples of text and have the students stand on one side of the classroom if they think it’s expository and stand on the other side of the classroom if the text is not expository. This activity will be completed once the teacher has reviewed the definition of 'expository text' and 'fictional text' with the students, so students will have practice identifying expository text and fictional text.

Sample of expository text leveled reader:

Click to view, print, or assign
Click to view, print, or assign

Sample of fictional text leveled reader:

Click to view, print, or assign
Click to view, print, or assign

Fact and Opinion Practice Activities:
-3b.) Students will sort facts and opinions on the Smart Board. They will move all of the facts to one side of the screen and all of the opinions to the other side of the screen. This document can easily be adjusted for different grade-levels and ability-levels by changing the facts and opinions in the document.The teacher can read the facts and opinions or the students can read them. Students can also add text to either side using the Smart Board markers.

-3c.)Students will work in pairs to create facts about school and write them on an overhead transparency. They will then share their facts with the class. For example, "We are in Room 5. We are all in 2nd grade. We read books at school. We learn math at school." Then students will write opinions on the transparency and share them with the class. For example, "School is fun! Our classroom is pretty. I love reading." Students will decide if pairs have sorted their facts and opinions appropriately.

-3d.)Use leveled readers for students to compare and contrast expository texts to fictional texts. Vocabulary will expand within the levels. Students will create Venn Diagrams to compare the texts. Students working at an advanced level can complete this activity independently or in pairs. Students on-level can complete this activity in a small-group with little teacher assistance. Students in Strategic Intervention will complete this activity with the teacher.

A sample list of leveled readers from Scott Foresman Reading Street:

Pearson- Scott Foresman - Teachers at schools who use Reading Street can create an account to get Reading Street materials on-line. Furthermore, the texts are all on-line and you have the option of the computer reading the texts to your students. Following is a list of leveled readers at the 2nd grade level.

Leveling Match
Air Is Everywhere
  • Science Leveled Readers
All About Animals
  • Science Leveled Readers
All About Astronauts
  • Reading Leveled Readers
All About Plants
  • Science Leveled Readers
All About Sound
  • Science Leveled Readers
America's Birthday
  • Reading Leveled Readers
Animal Eggs
  • Science Leveled Readers
Animal Groups
  • Science Leveled Readers
Animal Shelters
  • Reading Leveled Readers
Arachnid or Insect?
  • Reading Leveled Readers

*These activities are tiered.*

*Advanced Grouping activities:

Thinking of a list of Facts:
-3e.)Student will list facts on a graphic organizer. To make the activity more challenging, the student may be required to list facts about a story they have read so far in this unit, or on producers and consumers.

-3f.) From the leveled expository and fictional texts that students read with the teacher in small groups, students will create a CMAP listing facts and opinions from the text. These students will write at least 3 facts and 3 opinions. Here is a CMAP with the categories for students to add to. Students will also be allowed to create their own CMAP if they wish.

CMAP Website

*Strategic Intervention grouping activities:

Facts in the Text:
- 3g.)First, students will listen to the story on the computer. Second, students will re-read text with the teacher. When they find a fact, the teacher will fill out a post it and the student will place it on a fact board. Students will continue adding to the fact board so they have a visual reference of facts.

3h.) Writing activity:**

objective: Write an expository nonfiction story. (Rubrics for assessment are attached below)
*Strategic intervention-
Think of when you got a job done using teamwork. Write two sentences about it. Draw a picture
*On-Level (Mixed)-
Think of a time when teamwork got a job done. Write an expository nonfiction story about it. Give information. Write at least three sentences.
Think of a time when teamwork got a job done. Write an expository nonfiction story about the experience. Use words that give information about the events.

*Sample assessment rubrics:*

4. What are student needs

As listed in an article by Landrum and McDuffie, teachers need to take into account the students learning profiles that "may be shaped by intelligence preferences, gender, culture, and learning style." Teacher's need to ask themselves: What is the students' readiness? What is their interest in the subject? Teachers should take the information that they gather from the introductory lesson/anchoring activity to group the students according to readiness and ability. Individualization can be used for students with special needs.

Teachers can refer back to the introductory activity sheets to make sure that the induvidual students are on the right learning path. This unit includes multicultral material that students from any background can relate to. This will help students in making connections in their background knowledge.


Students will learn through the various activities they will complete in this unit. Students will be assessed on each activity throughout the unit, with the end result being how well they met the objectives: students name the characteristics of expository text, understand a fact in a text, and understand an opinion in a text. Students will meet these objectives through whole-group instruction and through small-group leveled activities. On-going formative assessment will allow the teacher to determine if students are meeting objectives and if instruction or leveled-group placements need to change. Students will be scored on a scale 1-4 for each objective, 1 being that the student still needs more practice to meet the objective and 4 being that the student has fully met the objective and is ready to move onto new material. All activities can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of learners in diverse classrooms and at different elementary grade levels.

Updated 6/29/2011