Provide a Context and Purpose for Reading with Procedures

  • Published on June 10, 2022

Use procedures to provide a context and purpose for reading

This post is a revisit of one of the first posts I published almost six years ago in 2016. Since it was first shared, I have added many more procedures to the collection. All procedural texts and activities can be found in the Procedures subsection of Literacy resources.

Why teach procedures?

Reading and following procedures are a part of everyday life. We need to follow a procedure to make a cake, take medicine, repair a bicycle, treat head lice, assemble a DIY bookcase, or install an app on a digital device. The list in inexhaustible.

Sometimes procedures are presented as text, sometimes as illustrations or diagrams, and sometimes as a combination of both. They work best when each step of the sequence is accurately described and illustrated.

However, not all procedural texts are created equal. Sometimes the language may be inappropriate and unclear. Sometimes steps are omitted or sequenced incorrectly. Sometimes diagrams have little resemblance to what is required and confuse, rather than clarify, the process.

Trying to figure out what to do can cause a great deal of frustration in such circumstances.  The more practised we are with following procedures, the more adept we are at interpreting inadequate instructions to achieve a good outcome.

It is never too soon for children to learn to read and follow procedures. The inclusion of procedural texts in a classroom literacy program has many benefits.

Following a procedure provides a context and purpose for reading.  It requires children to interpret instructions through a combination of text and visual representation. It generally implies that children are doing or making something, which engages their interest and encourages participation. It develops an essential real-life skill that is transferrable to a range of situations. The sense of achievement in successfully completing a project is both affirming and empowering and often requires no other feedback.

Procedural texts can be easily incorporated into a class reading program as an independent or group reading activity. An assistant to support, encourage and oversee can be invaluable.

Features of procedural texts

The reading of procedural texts differs from reading fiction or other non-fiction texts.

  • The title, and sometimes a short description, tells what will be done or made.
  • There is generally a list of requirements.
  • The body of the procedure is written as a sequential series of commands.
  • The verb, telling the action to be performed, occurs at the beginning of the sentence.
  • The sentence is directed to the reader, and means, “You do this.”
  • Each sentence is generally short with one action to be performed in each step.

Here at readilearn, we have a range of resources to involve children in reading and following procedural texts. Many of the procedures are provided in different formats for use with the whole class or with small groups or by individuals. Some are supported by additional resources, and How to make a paper plate cat face is presented with two levels of text.

Procedural texts available on the website include:

Instructions for making a paper plate cat face - Level 2 - Read to me

How to make a paper plate cat face

How to make a 2D bus with wheels that move

How to make a 2D bus with wheels that move

How to make a friendship tree

How to make a friendship tree

make a paper plate clock face - numbers and hands

Make your own paper plate clock face

recipe for making a moon cake

How to make moon cake

How to make a book cover - readilesson

How to make a book cover

healthy sandwich - easy for kids to make

How to make a healthy smiley face sandwich

bunny breakfast cover

How to make a nutritious bunny breakfast

Make a shape picture - cover

Make a shape picture

Secret message chatterbox is a fun activity to engage children in reading to follow instructions. When made, they write their secret messages to share with friends and family.

Secret Message Chatterbox

Find others in the collection of procedures by following this link. In addition, you can find others in the craft, cooking, and games and puzzles sections.

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

While you are here, remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of

over 500 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.

 

Browse resources now

While resources are available for purchase individually, best value comes through an annual subscription which gives access to all resources for a year for just A$25. That’s less than 50 cents a week.

If you haven’t already, follow @readilearn on Twitter and readilearnteachingresources on Instagram and like the readilearnteachingresources Facebook page.

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts below.

Follow Blog By Email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new readilearn posts by email and stay up to date with new resources.

Post written on Yuggera and Turrbal Country


Comments

    I think it’s important to cut the steps into shorter manageable chunks for those who need more support, Robbie. I’m sure you’ve been doing that with Michael all along.

    They are. It is frustrating when we don’t know how or what to do.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: