Extended Writing

Tasks done in school or for homework which require more than short answers are grouped together as extended writing.  The following tips are given for layout.


The purpose is to inform an interested party on the findings of an investigation or experiment. It should contain a title, introduction, subheadings and a conclusion.

If using ICT, reports should be written in Word – see guidance.


  • The language of a report should be formal.
  • Pupils should avoid using ‘I’ and aim to use the passive tense.

(‘Conditions in the local area were found to be below standard and in need of repair.’)

  • It should be written in the past tense.
  • Report writing should avoid using too much descriptive language and convey detailed information and facts.
  • Opinions should be offered as part of the conclusion only.

Letters – Formal and Informal

Formal: To someone in a position of authority.
Informal: To a friend or member of family.

If using ICT, letters should be written in Word – see guidance.


Formal and informal letters have different layouts.



Formal Informal
e.g A letter to a local newspaper, complaining about the poor quality of parks and open spaces in your area. e.g A letter to your mother, telling her about your backpacking holiday
Formal language (‘It has come to my attention that the school’s facilities need immediate improvement.’)
This includes heightened language that you may not use in spoken language.
Informal language – a more friendly, ‘chatty’ approach. (‘I was so pleased to hear the exciting news about your engagement!’) Some pupils think that this means to write in slang or ‘text speak’…It does not! ‘Lol’ is not a suitable informal approach!
A cohesive argument needs to be developed through the paragraphs. It should be opinionated and pupils should use strong verbs, adverbs and adjectives to express these opinions. (‘I was utterly appalled at the shocking quality of food at your restaurant.’) Content should still be paragraphed but into topic areas rather than building an argument. Pupils should use colloquialisms, rhetorical questions and add personal touches to make it sound more approachable (‘Your Uncle Fred nearly fell out of his tree when I told him how much money I’d won on the Lottery! Well, can you blame him?’)


Diary Writing / Empathy

Purpose: To recall a day’s event and to record a personal response to an event.

If using ICT, diaries can be written in Word for a simple structure, or in Publisher if more design features are required.

Layout: Simply date the piece and use paragraphs to structure the writing. Many pupils will be tempted to begin ‘Dear Diary’. This is fine for younger pupils but it isn’t particularly necessary and can seem inappropriate if writing as, for example, a WWI soldier, who would be unlikely to say it!


  • Diaries should be written in the first person ‘I’.
  • Diaries should be written in the past tense when recalling the events of the day.
  • Pupils should try to write realistically from the given perspective. For example, when writing the diary entry of a WWI soldier, it could be very helpful to research the kind of slang used by soldiers at the time with the class beforehand so that it sounds authentic.
  • Diary entries should include a personal response and the emotions of the character. Events should be told entirely through their eyes.


Purpose: To report on an important event or news worthy item

Articles should have a headline and sub-headings. They should be written in columns and include pictures.

Article Example

If using ICT, articles should be written in Publisher.

Language Features:

  • The first paragraph should include the 5 Ws – Who, Where, What, When, Why. E.g. Three youths were apprehended by police at 11.30 last night after joyriding through Beddau Square.
  • The writing should include both facts and opinions, with the opinions being subtly presented as fact in favour of the article’s bias. E.g These tearaway teens narrowly avoided a serious crash involving another car.
  • Pupils could include a quote from an eye witness, introduced in the piece by their full name (and age if writing a tabloid piece).
  • Articles are often full of emotive language which exaggerate the seriousness of the event.
  • Articles offer a conclusion on what will or should happen next.


Purpose: To persuade an audience of your point of view

Layout: Written in paragraphs

If using ICT, speeches should be written in Word.

Language Features:

  • Pupils should start by addressing the audience and clearly stating their argument. They should write a brief opening statement with a clear declaration of your intention (which side they’ll be taking).  E.g. It is ridiculous to believe that all animals should be held captive. My first point to illustrate this idea is that…
  • The body of the speech should then contain the main points for their argument, each given its own paragraph, linked by a connective (in addition to this, moreover, furthermore etc)
  • Language features can include:
    • Emotive Language to trigger guilt or sympathy
    • Rhetorical Questions
    • Repetition to reiterate a point (think “I have a dream…”;)
    • Anecdotes for the personal effect
    • Statistics or Facts to sound more credible
    • Personal pronouns to unite your audience with yourself (us, we, you)
    • Use of strong adjectives and verbs to sound more passionate.


Purpose: To inform or persuade.

Layout: The purpose of a leaflet’s layout is to provide accessible and lively information. It should capture the reader’s attention and provide an easy read.

If using ICT, articles should be written in Publisher.

Language Features:

  • The tone should be informative and factual and yet reasonably informal, to relate to a broad audience.
  • Text can include:
    • Bullet points to list facts or information.
    • Persuasive techniques (see speech writing for tips)
    • Anecdotes from others who wish to share their experiences
    • Subheadings and sections.
    • Commands (Imperative verbs) to sound authoritative.


If using ICT, scripts should be written in Word.


Drama scripts should be given a title. Pupils should write the name of each speaker in the margin, with a colon next their name, followed by the dialogue being spoken. Each new speaker should take a new line. Stage directions should also be set apart on a separate line, surrounded by brackets.


Purpose: to enable someone to carry out a task.

Layout: the layout should be clear, with identifiable steps.

The following guidelines may prove helpful when pupils are writing instructions.

  • Use clear, simple language. People often skim read instructions to find the bit they are stuck with, so make it easy for them to find.
  • State the purpose and audience for the instructions clearly in the title e.g.:
    • The Beginner’s Guide to Using Skype.
    • Advanced Sock Knitting Pattern.
  • Break the task into clearly identifiable steps (such as this).
  • Write each step using commands (imperative verbs). Compare the following:

Cut the butter into 1cm cubes.

This is clearer than writing:

It’s best if the butter is in quite small pieces.

  • Use a numbered list for sequential items and a bullet list for options.



  • If possible, test the instructions to ensure they make sense.


Recipes are essentially a very specific type of instruction. This is a good way to get children to think clearly about the steps involved. A recipe must include the following:

Ingredients – these must be clearly quantified with all the units in either metric or imperial (a good numeracy activity if conversions are needed.)
Equipment needed.
Time taken – for preparation and cooking.
Method – this should use a numbered list to ensure all the steps are in the correct order.

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