What is a non-chronological report?

What is a non-chronological report?
A non-chronological report is a piece of text that isn't written in time order. Find out how your child is taught to read and write non-chronological reports in primary school.

What is a non-chronological report?

A non-chronological report is a non-fiction report which is not written in time order.

All of the following information texts are written in time order:

  • Explanation - this is a text about a process which happens or happened in a certain order, such as the water cycle or the events of a battle.
  • Recount - this is a time ordered re-telling of something that has happened in real life, such as a school trip or the life of Gandhi.
  • Instructions - this is a text including numbered points on how to do something, such as cook a meal or put up some shelves.

A non-chronological report is focused on a single topic and includes various facts about this topic. Children may be asked to read and / or write non-chronological reports about a country, animal, religion, planet or sport.

Working with non-chronological reports in primary school

Teachers would start by showing children a range of reports and asking them to look at the features. 

The features of a non-chronological report include some of the following:

  • An eye-catching heading in a large font
  • An introductory paragraph
  • Text split up into paragraphs and each paragraph on a different aspect of the subject
  • Sub-headings for each paragraph
  • Usually written in present tense
  • Pictures of the subject
  • Captions under each picture to explain what is in the picture
  • Diagrams with labels
  • Lists of facts in bullet points
  • Graphs or charts showing information about the subject
  • Boxes containing interesting individual facts to grab the attention of the reader
  • Technical vocabulary in bold, possibly with a glossary at the end

Children will spend some time text-marking the features on different reports and comparing how they are set out. The next step will be for children to choose or be given a topic to research.

They may be given a spider-diagram like the following, on which to make notes:

Children will then need to draft each paragraph of their report.

Teachers will then encourage them to edit and improve their writing. The teacher may mark the work and write suggestions, or children may be put into pairs to edit each other's work. 

Children then need to think about the layout of their report. They need to think about all the above features and what they would like to include. A teacher may encourage children to draw up a plan of how they would like their report to look.

Children then produce their reports in 'neat', writing up their improved paragraphs and including eye-catching headings and pictures.