Describing graphs

My students will have to write about visual information in their end of year exam and that is the reason for today’s post. I am always looking for good pages online which can help students write about graphs and tables and although I have mentioned this one before I’m pretty sure my students won’t know about it.  We did some writing practice in class recently and the main thing I noticed about my students’ writing was that many of them were confusing NOUNS and VERBS. I wrote this on the board:

       Using a VERB as the main word      Using a NOUN as the main word
The rate of inflation increased quickly in 2008.There was a big increase in inflation in 2008.
The rate of inflation slowed in 2009.There was a dramatic slowdown in inflation in 2009.

If you use these basic sentence patterns you can’t go far wrong. If you can put two short simple sentences together using a connecting word to make a longer sentences in which you use both patterns then you get something like this:

The rate of inflation increased quickly in 2008 but there was a dramatic slowdown in 2009.

which will get you a very good mark!

You need to practice phrases like ‘a dramatic increase’. There are lots of these with illustrations on this page from the Higher Colleges of Technology. This brings back happy memories because I spent a few years working at HCT in the United Arab Emirates and had a great time there. Improve your graph language with their page here.