Procedural Text Assignment

A Procedural Text is a type of writing that gives instructions on how to do something. Often referred to as a "How-to."

Types of Procedural Texts

There are different procedural texts for different purposes:-
  • Texts that explain how something works or how to use instruction/operation manuals, for example, how to use the video, the computer, the photocopier,
  • Texts that instruct how to do a particular activity, for example, recipes, rules for games, science experiments, road safety rules.
  • Texts that deal with human behaviour, for example, how to live happily, how to succeed.

  • Goal - clearly stated (often in the heading).
  • Materials - listed in order of use.
  • Method - the steps are chronological and are numbered or listed.
  • Recipes usually have the information presented in at least two basic groups: ingredients and method.
  • Games instructions usually include instructions on how to play, rules of the game, method of scoring, and the number of players.
  • Scientific experiments usually include the purpose of the experiment, equipment, procedure, observations and conclusion.
  • Focuses on generalised people rather than individuals (first you take, rather than first I take).
  • The reader is often referred to in a general way, ie. pronouns (you or one).
  • Action verbs (imperative verbs), (cut, fold, twist, hold etc).
  • Simple present tense (you cut, you fold, you mix).
  • Linking words to do with time (first, when, then) are used to connect the text.
  • Detailed information on how (carefully, with the scissors); where (from the top); when (after it has set) .
  • Detailed factual description (shape, size, colour, amount).

Guidelines for Writing a Procedural Text.

1. Know exactly how to do the task. You must be very familiar with the steps of the process before you can write instructions. That means you know how to do this- you're not guessing or reading someone else's ideas. You have done this yourself!

2. Know how to begin the process. This may include gathering needed materials or supplies, or laying out a work area. You must explain this first.

3. Know what the end result looks like or does. You have seen the result (a baked cake, a radiator installed, a bicycle put together, the web page changing color, etc.) You must make sure the reader will end up with the same results.
4. Plan how to write the steps in order. Instructions are written in small increments (manageable tasks that are clear, easy to follow to completion). You must know what is done first, second, third.

5. Write instructions beginning with a verb (here: "Write") The reader must DO something each time.4

6. Write each step as a small piece. That means, each step should be small, a baby step in the whole process. It should be easy to read at once, and then turn and DO it right away. It shouldn't contain multiple things to do at the same time.
7. Include warnings as pre-steps. If it's critical that something be done (or NOT be done) before something else, write it as a step to do before the next step. For example, "check (or close) the drain plug," must be a step before "add oil to the tank."
8. Write the steps logically in order. Don't depend on the reader going down the page and reading all the tips and warnings before beginning to do the process. Or the reader going to read all the fine points in small print before starting. Include each point in its own step that begins with a verb.