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Ministry of Education.


Checklist-reports (RTF 23KB) (PDF)

"Reports can be straightforward recounts of events, but many of them are more than this. They may contain accounts and descriptions, but they often do more than describe a thing, event or situation. Some reports state a problem and suggest a solution. Some argue a case for or against a particular option, supporting their case with evidence and making a recommendation."

(The Learner as a Reader, Learning Media NZ:P 129)


The purpose of a report is to describe and classify information. Reports have a logical sequence of facts that are stated without any personal involvement from the writer.

Informative reports are written about living things like plants and animals and non-living things like cars or oceans. An information report is used when we talk and write about, eg. Bikes. (When writing a description we only talk/write about one specific thing, eg. My Bike).



Reports usually consist of the following:

  • an opening statement. (The Antarctic is a large continent at the South Pole; Possums are nocturnal animals that were introduced to New Zealand from Australia.)
  • a series of facts about various aspects of the subject eg where possums live, what they eat, problems they cause, etc. These facts are grouped into paragraphs and each paragraph has a topic sentence.
  • diagrams, photographs, illustrations and maps may be used to enhance the text
  • reports don't usually have an "ending", although sometimes the detailed information is rounded off by some general statement about the topic.
  • Nouns and noun phrases are used rather than personal pronouns. The use of personal pronouns is limited.
  • Most reports are written in the present tense.
  • Some reports use technical or scientific terms.
  • Linking verbs are used, eg. is, are, has, have, belong to, to give coherence.
  • Uses some action verbs (climb, eat).
  • Descriptive language is used that is factual rather than imaginative eg colour, shape, size, body parts, habits, behaviours, functions, uses.

Teacher Resources

  • Derewianka, B. (1990) Exploring How Texts Work. Sydney: Primary Teaching Association.
    Information Reports, page 47–56
  • Hood, H. (2000) Left to Write Too. Dunmore Press.
    Writing a Report, page 54–56
    Modelling the Report, page 59
  • Knapp, P. and Watkins, M. (1994) Context-Text-Grammar. Text Productions.
    Text forms that order, page 17
    The structure of formal descriptions, page 58–59
  • Ministry of Education. The Learner as a Reader. Wellington: Learning Media.
    Close Reading – Reports, page 129–135
  • Wing Jan, L. (1991) Write Ways: Modelling Writing Forms. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
    Reports, page 29, 30, 31

Published on: 21 Apr 2009

Teacher Resources - Electronic