What is a recount?

Notebook: writing a recount
Has your child been asked to write a recount? Find out what the main features of this kind of non-fiction text are, plus how recounts are used in primary school literacy lessons.

What is a recount?

A recount text is a piece of writing that gives details of an event that has happened.

Recount texts: features

Recount texts can come in the form of diary entries, newspaper articles and letters, and usually have the following features:

  • Written in chronological order
  • Written in the first person (diaries and letters)
  • Written in the past tense
  • Use time connectives

Children will usually be asked to write a recount about something exciting and memorable that has happened, or may be asked to imagine themselves as a character in a book and write a recount of an important event that has occurred in the story.

The suggested recount writing unit in Year 1 centres around a simple account of something exciting that has happened. Children will be encouraged to use time connectives such as 'first', 'then', 'after that'. They may be given pictures to put in order to help them with their writing.

The suggested recount writing unit in Year 4 culminates in writing a newspaper article. Children will look at newspaper articles and attempt to work out which parts are fact and which are opinion. They will look at the organisational features of a newspaper article (introduction, paragraphs, quotations from witnesses, sequencing of events signalled by time connectives and a concluding paragraph). Often, a newspaper article will be accompanied by a picture with a caption. Children will then be asked to write a recount (possibly of a real-life event that has happened to them) in the form of a newspaper article. They will start by drafting this and then will edit and revise it with the help of their teacher's marking or comments from peers. They will then attempt to produce a finished piece of writing similar to the one above.

There is a further recount unit in Year 5 on newspaper articles. In this case, children are shown television interviews about a particular topic and then think about how effective the questions have been in extracting relevant information. They look at a variety of newspaper articles that are recounts of particular events, then go onto researching a topic to report. They take interviews on this topic and then write up their recount in the form of a newspaper article.

Our parents' guide gives details of all non-fiction texts studied in primary school.