How to Write a How-to Article 4th Grade Writing
Lesson 1 • What makes a good how-to article? • A how-to article teaches the reader how to do something. The instructions for a board game are a kind of how-to article. So is a set of directions to your school. Here are some things to remember when you write a how-to article.
Introduction • The introduction of a how-to article tells what the reader will learn from the article. The introduction should be INFORMATIVE. • It might even be catchy if the writer thinks the reader needs to be “hooked.”
Body • The body of a how-to article tells how to complete the task. All the necessary materials are listed. Next, the steps are clearly explained in time order. The body should not include any unnecessary information. • Each step is written as an imperative sentence, or a sentence that gives a ________. • COMMAND
Conclusion • The conclusion of a how-to article sums up what has been taught. • It might also tell how the information might help the reader, or how they can use the information to be successful!
Activity • Decide which of the following sentences would make a good introduction for a how-to article about model airplanes. Be prepared to explain your answers. • Model airplanes are made of plastic. • Building a model airplane is easy and fun. • Never build a model airplane without an adult to help you. • I’m afraid to ride in airplanes. • With a little patience and work, you can build a model airplane that looks just like the real thing.
Writer’s Notebook Assignment • Write a list of three easy things that you know how to do. • Then, choose one and write an introduction for a how-to article about that topic. (2-3 sentences)
Lesson 2 – Time Order • The body of a how-to article tells how to do something step by step. • The directions are given in time order (chronological order) • If some directions are out of order, your readers might get confused. They might not be able to complete the task!
Chronological Order • The body of a how-to article on writing a letter is written below. Can you find the steps that are out of order? • Fold your letter into three parts. Write the heading and the inside address at the top of the page. Then write the closing and sign your name. Write your greeting and the body of your letter. Put the letter into an envelope. Seal the envelope and drop it in the nearest mailbox. Write the receiver’s address and your address on the envelope and add a stamp. • Revise the paragraph above using correct time order in your writer’s notebook.
Writer’s Notebook Assignment • Choose one of the topics below. Write three to five steps for the body of a how-to article about this topic. Use time order. • How to take a photograph • How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich • How to make your bed • How to wrap a present • How to give your dog a bath • Now, write an introduction and conclusion for the topic you chose.
Lesson 3 – Important Details • A how-to article should be complete. This means that all the necessary information should be included. • If an important detail is left out, the reader may not be able to complete the task. • As you write a how-to article, you should also make sure that you leave out any details that are not necessary. • Any unimportant details will distract your reader.
Important Details • Read the how-to paragraph below. Circle any unnecessary details. • Diving off a diving board is not as hard as you might think. First stand at the end of the diving board with your toes coming just off the edge. It could be an indoor pool or an outdoor pool. Bend your knees and lean your head forward. Raise your hands over your head. You won’t be doing one of those fancy dives like you see in the Olympics. Push off with your legs and lean forward so that you go headfirst into the water. When you come up, you’ll be glad you took your first dive!
Time Words • Have you ever read a paragraph in which the sentences did not seem to fit together? If so, the paragraph might have needed some time words (also known as transition words). • Time words help a writer connect ideas so that they flow together. These kinds of words are often placed at the beginning of a sentence.
Time Words • Here are some examples: after next before second finally then first third later while
Adding Time Words • Add time words to the article you’ve been given. Use the words in the box. after next before second finally then first third later while
Writer’s Notebook Assignment • Describe what you do when the school day ends, using time words. Whisper read it to yourself. • Then, whisper read it aloud WITHOUT the time words. Which one sounds better?
Lesson 4 – Prewriting and Drafting • What things do you know how to make or do? • Can you build a snow fort or make a necklace? • By writing a how-to article, you can share your skills with others
In your Writer’s Notebook… • Make a list of things that you know how to make or do. You could list crafts and games or food you know how to cook. You could list anything else that you know how to do. List 5 or 6 things.
Look it Over • Look over your list. Choose one topic that would be fun and easy to explain. Choose a topic that you think would interest other people too.
Organizing Your Ideas • In your writer’s notebook, make a bullet point list of all the materials needed for the topic you chose. • Next, write down all the important steps. • When you have finished, read over what you have written. Make sure you have included all the materials. Check that all of the important steps are included and in the right order. • Make changes to your list if you find any mistakes.
Drafting • Now you’re ready to begin your first draft in your composition notebook. • Think of an introduction that tells what you will be teaching. You might want to make it catchy to get your readers interested. • Next, write the body of your how-to article in TIME order. Start by listing any materials (using commas, not bullet points). • Then list the steps in paragraph form. Use time words to help the sentences fit together in order. • Finally, add a conclusion. Sum up what you taught. You might want to tell the result of following the steps or how they can use what they learned or made.
Preparing Your Presentation • You will be preparing a presentation of your how-to article in front of the class next week. • You will be assigned a presentation day so that you can be sure to bring in all of your materials that day.
How-To Article Presentation • Friday • Thursday
Prepare • To prepare for a how-to talk, first list all the important steps. Think of an informative introduction and a good conclusion for your talk. • Write your introduction and conclusion on separate notecards. • Then write each step on a separate note card. Also make notes of when to show your visual aids.
Visual Aids • Next prepare any visual aids. • If you will be showing a picture or drawing, make it big enough for everyone to see. • If you are bringing in materials, gather everything you need.
Practice • Before giving your how-to talk, practice in front of a friend or family member. • Try to look at the person and not just read from your notecards. • Remember to speak s-l-o-w-l-y and clearly! • Practice with your visual aids if you’re using them. If you will be showing how to follow the steps in your talk, go through them a few times. • Practice each step until you can do it smoothly.
Practice Self-Check • As you practice your talk, ask yourself these questions: • Am I speaking slowly and clearly? • Am I speaking loudly enough? • Does my introduction catch my audience’s attention? • Have I included all the necessary materials? • Have I included all the important steps? • Do I show my visual aids at the right time? • Does my conclusion sum up what has been taught?
Listening Tips • When someone gives a how-to talk, it is important to be a good listener. Keep in mind these points as you listen to your classmates’ talks: • Look at the speaker to show you’re listening. • Listen for the introduction to find out what is being taught. • If you cannot see a visual aid or do not understand a step, raise your hand. Politely ask the speaker for help in seeing the visual aid or in understanding the step. • After the talk, ask the speaker any questions you have. • Tell the speaker one thing you liked about the talk.