Explanation Writing

Improve your child’s explanation writing!

One of the most valuable writing skills a child can learn is the ability to successfully explain themselves to their readers. Introducing your child to explanation writing will improve their critical thinking and explanatory skills, and their overall understanding of both factual and opinion writing!

This section of our website has free resources on explanation writing to help your child build their knowledge of this writing style. Let’s get into what explanation writing is, what the features of an explanation text are, and how you can help your child improve their explanation writing skills!

What is explanation writing?

Explanatory texts answer a question and/or explain a key subject, action, or event. In this type of writing, your child can use the words "how" and "why" to explain the answers to the questions they’re addressing in their article. Your child will come across different types of explanation writing throughout their academic journey. These include:

  • Causal explanations
  • Step-by-step guides
  • “How to” tips
  • Procedural writing

Explanation writing can be viewed as an extension of informational writing, but whereas informational texts simply provide readers with facts, explanation texts go one step further, demonstrating how the information provided was gathered and/or how it can be used.

How to write an explanation text

  1. Start with a question including how or why. Example: Why do giraffes have long necks?
  2. Think of the main points you want to highlight in order to effectively answer the question.
  3. Have a clear introduction explaining the topic.
  4. Write in the present tense and use action verbs.
  5. Use linking words & phrases to help your writing feel cohesive when moving between ideas.
  6. Use cause and effect words to explain your topic thoroughly.
  7. Consider using numbered points, pictures, or diagrams to help your readers understand each point even better and emphasize the context of your explanation text throughout.

Linking Words/Phrases & Cause/Effect Words

Linking phrases and cause and effect words can help make explanation writing cohesive and clear. Here are some examples of linking words and phrases your child can use to write a great explanation text:

  • Firstly
  • Additionally
  • Furthermore
  • Secondly
  • Lastly
  • Finally
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • In conclusion
  • Moreover

Topics for explanation texts

Challenge your child to write about one of these topics:

  1. How do bees make honey?
  2. How does the recycling process work?
  3. Why do volcanoes erupt?
  4. How can you be a good friend?
  5. Why does it get cold at night?
  6. How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
  7. Why should we eat fruits and vegetables?
  8. How often should you walk a dog?
  9. Why do we need sleep?
  10. How do you ride a bicycle?

Activity & Resource

Here’s a free resource for your child to reference with some information and teaching ideas on explanation writing, and to use as a template for future attempts:

Explanation writing resource.

How Night Zookeeper can help

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At Night Zookeeper, we make sure children are exposed to different text types and writing genres, including explanation writing. Our reading & writing program for kids is a great resource to help your child develop their writing skills, as well as their spelling, grammar, punctuation, and reading comprehension.

Night Zookeeper uses gamification and highly engaging visuals to keep children entertained while they learn, including thousands of writing activities and teaching resources, including word games, tutorials, and lessons covering sentence structure, language features, and more!

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