Tips for a Well Written Expository Essay

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Blog, She Wrote: Tips for a Well Written Expository Essay

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Back in high school I took a class that all the college bound students took- Expository Writing or “Expos” (pronounced X-Paas) for short. Thanks to Mrs. Etzler, I have a profound knowledge of certain grammar musts and how to keep sentences and ideas balanced- even if you don’t always see them practiced here. Being able to write a simple essay of explanation is imperative for homeschooled college hopefuls. It’s also a non-negotiable life skill in our home. Our goal as parents and teachers of our children is to help them to become effective written communicators. Today’s post- Tips for a Well Written Expository Essay.

What Is an Expository Essay?

These types of essays are explaining essays. They can explain any thing and a student’s position on a concept. The result of the essay will help others understand the topic at hand. There are always some general guidelines on what evaluators look for in an expository essay:

  • Develop a point of view given a prompt.
  • Support your position with experience, reading, studies, or observations- I have it on good authority that the SAT evaluators love it if you connect your position to a book. Also, take a side! Be bold!
  • Present a logical organization of the facts.
  • Follow grammar conventions of English

Resources for Practicing the Expository Essay

There are many websites with practice prompts and ideas for you to use with your high school student. Here are a few that caught my eye:

  • ACT sample essays– from The ACT folks. Prompts which ask you to look over an issue, choose a position and write an essay.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab– There are some great pointers and reminders on this page as well as other information non-fiction writers might find useful including a link to MLA standards.
  • SAT Writing Practice– from the College Board website. This site has a wealth of information on what to expect on the SAT and how to prepare.

Make sure you require the expository style writing in your homeschool. It’s easy to ask our students to write creatively, but knowing how to develop an argument and state it concisely is a significant goal for high schoolers and for our students beyond high school no matter what they choose to pursue.

We require expository writing in all disciplines within our high school curriculum and we practice it weekly.

Outsourcing the Foundation for the Expository Essay

What if you aren’t feeling confident about teaching your college-bound student how to write an expository essay? Now that you have ideas for resources for practicing the essay, how about taking a class which offers your student another mentor?

Fortuigence offers modules of a course called, Essay Rockstar. Master the Expository Essay is an opportunity for your student to have one on one instruction in how to accomplish non-fiction writing in five steps. The objectives met in this class will help your student to write college exam and application essays in addition to improving their high school course writing.

Taking advantage of one four week course can be a smart addition to your high school English course.

Writing a well organized, concise essay with a clear position and specific support is essential to a student’s success in an expository essay. It’s a life skill for all adults and one necessary for admission to colleges.

How do you teach non-fiction writing in your homeschool? If you have other resources you enjoy, please leave a comment.

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  1. As a former college composition instructor and homeschooling mom, I would say to also practice timed essay writing once your homeschooler is writing competent untimed essays, bring in current events, understand how to write compound and subordinate clauses, as well as strong topic sentences, and study the Rogerian technique of persuasion if at all possible. Your high school homeschoolers may have fun practicing this orally when trying to convince you to give them the car keys, stay up later . . .

    1. Ha! Erika, my kids have great powers of written persuasion which works in their favor! Thank you for the additional ideas. You are right- time is important when it comes to tests. Thanks!

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