Friday, March 30, 2012

How to Write a How To!

Dear friends,

This is an assignment I gave to my 7th-8th grade English students in our home school co-op several weeks ago.  They really seemed to enjoy this one!



This week your assignment is to write about how to do something.   This writing skill comes in quite handy because giving people instructions is a regular part of real life.   Here are the steps to writing a great "how to."

1.      Choose a topic that is simple enough to be explained on a single page. It should be one that you already know enough about, or can research easily, to make it clear and interesting.  Here are some sample "how to" topics:

·       How to make a hot fudge sundae
·       How to organize your bedroom
·       How to pump up bicycle tires
·       How to play a favorite outside game
·       How to choose the best book to read

2.     Decide on a format for instructions. You can use bullets or numbers if this would make it easier to follow.  A recipe usually lists the ingredients first, and then the instructions.

3.     Consider using pictures to show each step and the finished product.  This often makes a real difference on how clear and interesting your instructions are.

4.     Remember the important parts of your instructions:

·       Your topic sentence will introduce what you are going to teach and might give a hint of why your audience would want to do it.   If necessary, you can use two or three sentences for this.
·       Your supporting detail sentences should show, in chronological order, the steps in the process, as well as what materials are needed.  There may be more than one sentence per step.  Be sure that your transitions between steps are clear.  Keep your steps in a consistent format.  For example, you might want to present each step in simple command form, and then elaborate more on it in another sentence.
·       Your concluding sentence should provide some final motivation to go try it.

5.     Check your draft to make sure you have included all of the important information.  Don't assume that your readers know what you know.  Also check to be sure you haven't put unnecessary, off-topic information into your paragraph since that would be distracting.

6.     Polish it all up for a terrific final draft!  You can ask a parent or friend for help in deciding if your instructions are clear and interesting.

I think you'll have fun writing your "how to" instructions.  I sure enjoyed writing these for you!  

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