Table of Contents

Unit 1: Understanding and Teaching the Common Core Writing Standards

1.3.3 Blending and Combining Different Text Types

Most genres and most writers, even student writers, blend elements of different kinds of writing and draw on the CCSS text types to do so. Student writers are often unaware that they do this and that if done intentionally and strategically, such blending will help them improve their writing and expand their genre repertoire.

For purposes of illustration, you will read three student essays. Before reading the essays, download and print (for easy reference) the grade span sections of the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy:

Writing Standards K–5 (pages 15–20)
Writing Standards 6–12 (pages 50–58)

Review the descriptions from the grade-level writing standards, “Text Types and Purposes,” that correspond to each writer’s grade level. For “Stanley Hom Lau: Paper Son” refer to the Grades 11–12 Writing Standards.

Time to Read

Download and print each essay using the links below so that you can annotate or mark them up. As you read each one, note (on the essays) your answers to the question below:

How and where do the writers of each essay blend elements of narrative, informational, and/or argument writing?


  • The Life of Carmen Alfaro” is a fourth grade student’s biographical sketch of his grandmother and is based on an interview with her.
  • Miss Sadie” is an eighth grade student’s firsthand biography of a memorable person and was written for a timed writing assessment.
  • Stanley Hom Lau: Paper Son” is a research paper written by a university freshman that uses the biography of the writer’s uncle to analyze a period of California’s immigration history.

After you’ve read the essays, compare your notes to the annotated versions of the essays in the activity on the next page.