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[Detail] The Grand Canyon. Clarence E. Dutton, 1882.

3) Written Communication

The National Park Service provides visitors with maps that both inform visitors of the wonders of the park and warn them of possible dangers. Students can search on National Park Service to read the tourist information provided on several maps. They can use the maps to study the careful use of language that entices the curious while reminding people to be cautious. In addition, students will see how the language is appropriate for a vast variety of tourists who visit the parks. Have students answer the following questions to identify these written communication skills:

  • What is the first or most prominent written information on the map? What is the effect of reading this first?
  • What dangers is the visitor alerted to? Are they made to feel nervous about leaving their cars? How does the language used create that or any other feeling?
  • To what sights are visitors directed? Is information provided for those who want to leave the heavily traveled areas? How are these people made to understand safety concerns associated with this exploration?
  • What other types of information are represented on the map?
  • What do you think were the goals of the national park in creating this text? Were the goals at odds with each other? What techniques and language were used to meet all of these goals at once?