Table of Contents

Unit 1: Understanding and Teaching the Common Core Writing Standards

1.3.4 Applying Significance to Text Types and Genres

As students practice blending text types as part of building toward analytical, argument writing, they also need to learn the importance of significance. Refer to the following quotes regarding significance as explained by George Gadda, Chief Reader of the University of California Analytical Writing Placement Examination:

Students may learn the formats of description, narration, exposition, and persuasion, but they may not gain a sense of how to use these formats as strategies to create significance for the reader. They may not use them to think — and then are not helped to write — analytically."

"Analytical writing requires that each writer create and define significance for the reader, and that the writer cite and explain evidence in a way that will make the reader understand and, if possible, accept the significance defined."

Recall or re-read the three student essays, this time looking for “significance,” and consider the following questions:

  • How are the writers explaining the significance of the experience or information they conveyed in their essays?
  • What significance are they proposing that you as the reader accept?

Now, compare your ideas to the examples of significance below:

Significance: The Life of Carmen Alfaro
Significance: Miss Sadie
Significance: Stanley Hom Lau: Paper Son
Time to Apply

Return to the Writing Text Type and Purpose Standards in CA CCSS for ELA /Literacy for your grade level:

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

Start by reading the descriptions for argument/opinion, informative/explanatory, and narrative. Think of a genre for each text type and consider how focusing on these three elements would help your students make each significant.


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Sample responses

Important Takeaway: The ultimate purpose of writing is to convince readers of the significance of what is being written about. All students, beginning in the early grades, can learn to write genres about experiences and observations, write genres that link experience, observation, and reading, and write genres exclusively about texts in ways that justify the significance of the writing to a reader.

Time to Extend

Return to your charted notes from the Time2Extend activity in section 1.3.3 — Analyzing Texts for Text Type Blending and Significance — where you analyzed how professional and college writers combine text types for rhetorical effect to create blended or hybrid writing genres.

  1. Download a blank copy of Analyzing Texts for Text Type Blending and Significance.
  2. Read the same texts that you analyzed before, but this time look for and chart significance using: