Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe the nature of informational (expository) language in terms of unique grammatical characteristics and discuss applications for assessment and intervention for older school-aged children and adolescents with language impairments.
Methods: Information presented is based on a selected literature review of topics including the nature of academic texts, expository text processing of older children and adolescents with language impairments and/or learning disabilities, and language intervention studies that target higher level language in the same population.
Results: We summarize key grammatical strategies found in informational text: (a) complex nominal (noun phrase) groups, (b) clausal subordination, and (c) theme and information mechanisms. Although facility with these structures is not routinely or systematically tested by language clinicians, we highlight assessment procedures useful for this purpose. Promising intervention evidence suggests that grammatical features characteristic of informational text can be targeted with positive results for students who struggle with this aspect of higher level language.
Conclusions: Success comprehending and producing informational text requires unique grammatical knowledge. A qualitative literature review is used to derive best practices in assessment and intervention with school-aged children who are particularly challenged by these types of texts.