How to: Third-Grade Procedural Writing

Procedural writing is an important part of the third-grade curriculum.
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Procedural writing describes a written piece that provides a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish a specific task. This is an important part of everyday life, as it allows the reader to learn something new and perform the task correctly. Children need to learn how to identify a procedural piece of writing and create one as well. In third grade, students are learning different types of writing styles; include procedural writing as part of their lessons.

Explain procedural writing. Include examples that a typical third-grader may have seen, such as recipes, game instructions and age-appropriate science experiments. Ask them to identify additional examples and then write them down for everyone to see.

Describe the components of procedural writing -- an introduction, list of materials, the steps and a conclusion. Write these down so that everyone can see, and work with the students to discuss each area.

Provide examples for students to read. Assign them to identify each component of the piece. Students can work independently or in a group. Discuss the findings with the entire class.

Work as a group to write a procedural piece. Choose a topic that all students will be familiar with, or incorporate a story or video that you will first read or view with the class. Some examples that are appropriate for third grade include the books "Stone Soup" by Marcia Brown and "Macbeth for Kids" by Lois Burdett. Ensure that all components are clearly written and that all students have participated.

Ask students to write their own procedural pieces. Either individually or in groups, have students choose their topics and write the introduction, list of materials, steps and conclusion. Topics can include some form or origami, simple recipes or games.

Have students exchange papers and follow the written instructions. Explain that, when written correctly and thoroughly, others should be able to follow the instructions and achieve the desired results. Have students work together to make any necessary improvements to the written procedure.

  • When you ask students to write their own procedures for a given task, ensure that they choose something that can easily be replicated in the classroom. For example, do not allow a student to write a cooking recipe if you do not have access to food or kitchen appliances.

Jen has been a professional writer since 2002 in the education nonprofit industry. Her work has been featured in the New Jersey SEEDS Annual Report, as well as several Centenary College publications, including "Centenary in the News" and the "Trustee Times." In 2009, Jen earned a Master of Arts degree in leadership and public administration from Centenary College.