Types of Writing Your Teen Needs to Learn

By Huntington Learning Center

Learning to write well is an essential skill that your teen will use just about every day in high school. Most subjects incorporate writing into their curriculum, and all teachers have the expectation that students are adept at communicating this way. 

As teens prepare themselves for college-level academics, they must be proficient and versatile writers, able to convey their ideas and arguments clearly and coherently. But different assignments and projects call for different kinds of writing. Here are a few types your teen must master during in high school: 

  • Essays – The essay is very common in high school. Essays require students to analyze, speculate or interpret something from their own perspective. Depending on the goal, high school teachers assign a variety of essay types: expository, compare and contrast, persuasive and descriptive, to name a few. No matter the type of essay, your teen should be comfortable planning, writing, editing and revising his or her work by introducing and developing a topic and making any claims or opinions clear and compelling. Your teen must be able to establish the desired tone and bolster any claims with evidence and good reasoning. 
  • Fiction and nonfiction stories – Storytelling is another type of writing that your teen will learn in high school and something that will come up on those college admissions essays. Narrative techniques will help your teen paint a picture, introduce and develop characters and/or the setting, and convey concrete and abstract details to push a plot (or nonfiction story) forward. This kind of writing takes creativity and a lot of planning to bring words to life. Sensory language and the little details can make a tremendous difference in building tension, interest and/or excitement. 
  • Informative writing – With informative or explanatory writing, students introduce a topic, offer facts and examples, and incorporate details. Put simply, this type of writing is all about explaining something clearly (e.g. a complex concept) or answering a factual question. Your teen will be asked frequently throughout high school to prove his or her knowledge about different subjects in this type of format—in longer report form or via shorter responses. 
  • Project reports – The main purpose of a project report is to share research on an assigned topic. Research papers become especially important (and more common) in college. That said, your teen might have projects arise throughout high school wherein he or she is asked to research a topic, synthesize information and present it in the form of a cohesive, coherent report. 

Of course, this is just a sample of the kinds of writing that your teen will be exposed to in high school. There are also other types like reflective journal writing, book or story reports, lab reports in science classes, and more. Bottom line: knowing how to write effectively is absolutely critical in high school—and something that your teen must practice. 

The reality is that writing does not come easily to all students. If your teen struggles with it, contact Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN. We will assess your teen’s writing skills, identify what building blocks he or she is missing, and develop an individualized plan of instruction to become a stronger writer. The sooner your teen masters this skill, the easier high school course work will be—and the more prepared your teen will be for college.


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