Table of Contents

Unit 2: Planning Lessons for Informational and Argument Writing

Writing for Varied Audiences and Purposes

The Grade 9 CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy Writing Standard 2 states:

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.

e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

Recall that every genre of writing occurs in a situation that has an audience, a purpose, a context or setting, a set of expected and appropriate responses, and a reason for the writer to write (Fox, 2004). Ensuring that students have the opportunity to research a variety of sources to determine language, vocabulary, levels of formality, and tone appropriate to the task is essential.

Time to View

In the following video, the teacher is guiding her 9th- and 10th- grade students to understand and identify for what audiences and purposes informal and formal language are appropriate and effective. She supports their learning by asking them to analyze the language used in several written genres and texts, including texts, emails, letters, and newspapers. As students write for increasingly networked audiences and in both digital and print, the goals of this lesson become increasingly important.

High School Example

Reading Formal and Informal TextsExternal Link

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Time to Reflect

Take a few minutes to reflect upon the following questions about the video:



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Sample responses


Time to Extend

Consider adapting this lesson by finding similar kinds of texts for student analysis. Have the students work in pairs or small groups to demonstrate their understanding of using informal and formal language in their own writing.

Using the topic of upstanders, not bystanders, students could:

  • Text a friend about an upstander or bystander they saw in action at school.
  • Write a letter to the principal nominating a student for the school monthly upstander award.
  • Write an editorial describing a situation at school that needs more upstanders and how the students and teachers could work together as an upstander team.