BYU Radio

Expository Text

Today I’d like to tell you about expository text. What is expository text you may ask? Let’s start by saying that the purpose of expository text is to explain something or give information. This kind of text is designed to teach someone something and to give the facts that will inform the reader and help them build new knowledge. Because of these purposes, these texts are always nonfiction. You are probably familiar with different kinds of expository texts since we’ve all interacted with them. Newspapers and magazines, which we often encounter, are great examples of expository texts. Many of you may have used a textbook at one time or another—another clear example of expository text. Because many people equate expository text with dull try textbooks, they react to expository texts with disdain. However, just because a text is expository does not mean that it has to take all the fun out of learning. The very best authors of expository nonfiction for children are able to aptly convey their love of the world to readers. One of my all-time favorite authors of expository nonfiction for kids is Gail Gibbons. Writing on a wide range of topics, from Tornados to Ladybugs, all of Gail’s books engage readers with bold illustrations and lots of factual information. But good authors of expository nonfiction don’t just keep their readers engaged, they also construct their texts to support the reader as they read.  For example, one of the cool things that expository texts do is that they often use textual elements like headings and subheadings to guide a reader thought the text. Additionally, they often use specific structures to convey information such as when they compare and contrast facts, or they outline a problem and then give a solution. One publisher of a number of excellent expository texts for kids that uses all of these support elements is DK. In their books, like the First Dinosaur Encyclopedia, they use headings to organize large amounts of dinosaur information as they compare and contrast the meat-eaters with the plant eaters. For the inquisitive dinosaur fanatic, a book like this is perfect. And it doesn’t have to just be dinosaurs; there are all kinds of things out there that kids are interested in. Expository text may be just the ticket for learning more about the things kids love.


By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

Tornados by Gail Gibbons. Holiday House, 2009.


Ladybugs by Gail Gibbons. Holiday House, 2012.


First Dinosaur Encyclopedia. DK, 2016.



At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


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