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Ministry of Education.




Instructions are a form of Explanation writing

The purpose is to tell the reader how to do or make something.

The information is presented in a logical sequence of events which is broken up into small sequenced steps. These texts are usually written in the present tense.

The most common example of a procedural text is a recipe.

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 tape recorder, the photocopier, the fax.
  • 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).

e-Learning tools to support instruction writing


Presentation Tools to mix text and illustration

  • Book Creator is a free iPad app that allows for inclusion of text, images and sound in creating eBooks.
  • Comic and Meme Creator is a free Android app for making eBooks.
  • Powerpoint or Keynote can also be used to create eBooks.

Using a camera to record the steps in a "How to" text will assist planning and can enhance the presentation. Photos can be cropped, rotated and enhanced using free software or apps.  

Updated on: 18 Mar 2020