Activities for Functional Writing

Updated April 17, 2017

Some people make writing their career, but most of us do not. We e-mail, we text, yet when life calls upon us to write, we stand a bit insecure, wondering what we will say and how we will say it. Enter functional writing. Functional writing is writing for life's practical purposes. Functional writing fulfils real-life purposes. A good knowledge of functional writing will not only give you the ability to communicate well, but it will also give you a foundation for writing other types of documents as well.

Functional Writing

Like all good writing, functional writing needs to be clear in meaning and follow all writing conventions. Functional writing skills are as significant as thesis writing skills in that they, too, communicate meaning to a particular audience. Functional writing can be fun, serious, light or strictly informative. A good piece of functional writing communicates well and often motivates the recipient to action.

Examples of Functional Writing

Letter-writing is a functional writing activity. Invitations and thank-you notes are another. Business letters, particularly letters of complaint, are a very common form of functional writing. Event posters, community banners, resumes, applications, forms and e-mails -- all these are types of functional writing. Although practical in nature, functional writing is a challenge in that the content must be succinct and still get the message across.

Elementary School-Age Writing Activities for Developing Good Functional Writing Skills

Practice makes skilled functional writers. Have some fun with your younger ones. Give them functional writing tasks from time to time. Holidays are a great way to celebrate functional writing skills. Read this to your child: "The Halloween costume shop needs some suggestions for costumes this year. Be sure to write them and tell them what kinds of costumes kids would like. Give them some guidelines on the prices as well as the colours that are popular." "Write a thank-you note to Mrs. Brown telling her how much you liked her apple pie." "Your sister is keeping the room you share messy. Write her a note telling her why you would like it to be neater." "Write your own birthday party invitations. Explain why you want to have a birthday party with your friends. Be sure to include the necessary information, like the date and the time."

Secondary School-Age Writing Activities for Developing Functional Writing Skills

Every secondary student has a teacher he likes and admires. Suggest to your child that he write that teacher and tell her why he likes her and the class so much. The teacher choice can be past or present. This is especially good for Education Week or National Teachers Day. Another functional writing opportunity is to write a letter to the editor in response to a local editorial that was critical of youth. It is your child's job to tell the reading audience why the negatives do not apply. Job applications often have a space for writing "additional comments." Encourage your daughter to explain why she will be a kid whom the owner remembers long after her high school job has ended. Ask your son to create a poster for the church family potluck, giving all the necessary information for the event.

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About the Author

Paula Walters is a lifelong learner who has enjoyed just about everything she's tried to learn. She has experienced learning both as a teacher and student. She likes writing SEO content and has published human-interest articles in local papers. She has a master's degree in TESOL and international children's literature.