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Non-chronological reports

What is a non-chronological report?

A non-chronological report is a non-fiction text that is not written in time order. They are written to give information on a particular subject or event, without actually referring to the order in which things happen. Non-chronological reports are often referred to as information texts as they give factual information about the topic or event.

Instructions are not an example of a non-chronological report since it would be impossible to follow them correctly were they not in the correct order. Similarly, explanation texts are also presented in time order so are not non-chronological reports.

Below is an example of a non-chronological report taking from our Lost in the Rainforest Non-Chronological Reports scheme for Year 3.

What are the features of a non-chronological report?

Here are the key features of non-chronologicl reports. Not all non-chronological reports will contain every single feature listed below but they will include some of them.

1. A heading - The heading should be nice and big so it catches the readers eye. It should make it very clear to the reader what the non-chronological report is about. Sometimes, the heading can take the form of a question which then the non-chronological report answers.

2. An introductory paragraph - This paragraph gives an overview of the topic the non-chronological report is about. It is found just below the heading and before the main body of the report.

3. Subheadings - Non-chronological reports are laid out in pargraphs. Each paragraph focusses on a different aspect of the topic of the report. So that the reader knows what each paragraph is about, subheadings are used as signposts. They enable the reader to quickly find the part of the non-chronological report they are interested in finding out about. These subheadings can, like the heading, also take the form of questions.

4. Paragraphs - Non-chronological reports are organised into paragraphs. Each paragraph focusses on a different aspect of the subject being discussed.

5. Technical vocabulary - Non-chronological reports often contain topic specific vocabulary. These may not be known to the reader and are thus either explained within the report itself or are sometimes listed in the glossary found at the back of the information book. Children need to be taught this topic-specific vocabulary explicitly so that they can use it with confidence in their non-chronological report writing.

6. Images with captions - These could be photographs, illustrations or diagrams with labels. The images have captions. The captions help the reader to understand what the image is showing.

7. Written in the third person - Non-chronological reports are written in the third person and have a formal tone.

8. Formal language - The purpose of this type of writing is to give facts rather than opinions. Therefore, non-chronological reports use formal language.

9. Present tense - Non-chronological reports are normally written in the present tense unless they are writing about an event that has happened in the past.


Here at PlanBee, we have created this FREE Features of Non-Chronological Reports Poster for you to download and use in your classroom:

How are children taught about non-chronological reports?

Here are the stages children will typically go through when learning to write a non-chronological report:

Stage 1 - Reading and Analysing

The beginning of a unit on non-chronological reports will usually involve reading a range of high quality examples of the text type. Children will identify features that are common to non-chronological reports (see above) and will draw up a list of success criteria for good non-chronological reports. At this stage of the teaching sequence, children will often be required to compare non-chronological reports. Using a bad example (often written by the teacher); children can then see why the key features of non-chronological reports are needed.

Teachers will often share a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) with the children at this stage in order to identify the key features of the text type. We have a teaching Wiki on WAGOLL to help:

Stage 2 - Research

The next stage children will often be involved with is researching using information texts. For children to be able to write a quality non-chronological report on a topic, they will obviously need to know lots about that topic. Therefore, children will need to use a range of texts on the topic to become experts in it. Note taking, bullet pointing and answering comprhension questions using non-chronological reports could all happen at this stage. The topic precific vocabulary needed will also need to be understood by the children.


Stage 3 - Sentence level work

By this point, the children will have a good understanding of the key features of non-chronological reports and will have researched the topic so that they can write with confidence about it. In this next stage, children will normally focus on a sentence level objective that the class is working on. For example, in Year 4 children might practice using fronted adverbials in their factual sentences while in year 2, work on using conjunctions might take place. They will then apply this sentence level work to their writing at length later in the unit.


Stage 4 - Planning and drafting 

Children will then typically use a planner of some description to plan out the paragraphs they will be writing in their non-chronological report. They will think about what the heading, subeadings and content of each paragraph will be. Once this has taken place, children will use their plan to draft their non-chronological report. They will have access to word banks, sentence starters and their research undertaken previosuly to help them.


Stage 5 - Editing

Once children have drafted their non-chronological report, they will then typically be involved with editing and impoving their writing. A really useful way of doing this is through the use of editing stations. There is a very useful teaching Wiki and a FREE pack full of word banks, posters and other resources that you can download. The links to these are here:


Stage 6 - Presentation and evaluation

The final stage of the writing process will be children writing up their non-chronological report. They may do this on special paper and have more creative freedom over the layout and presentation. Children will then evaluate their own and each others' writing in relation to the success criteria drawn up in the first stage of the unit (see stage 1 - research). This writing will often be mounted and displayed as a celebration of children's achievements.

Resources to support the teaching of non-chronological reports

Here at PlanBee, we have a huge range of materials that you can use to support your teaching of non-chronological reports:

Non-chronological reports Year 2

Children in Year 2 will write simple information texts related to a topic they are learning about with headings and factual sentences. They may be provided with a frame to support them writing in paragraphs with subheadings.

Non-chronological reports KS2

As children progress through KS2, their non chronological reports will become more sophisticated and show a greater use of the key features of this text type. In Year 3, the use of the key features may still need to be heavily scaffolded by the teacher but as children progress, their use of these will become more independent.

LESSON PACK Castles - Non-chronological reports (Year 2)

LESSON PACK Lost in the Rainforest - Non-chronological reports (Year 3)

FREE Features of a Non-Chronological Report Poster

FREE Editing Station Poster Pack