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Expository writing. Effective writers use informational writing to inform, explain and report. KWL. What do you think expository writing looks like? What do you think the purpose of expository writing is? Have you ever practiced this style before?. How-to Essays in Everyday Life.

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expository writing

Expository writing

Effective writers use informational writing to inform, explain and report.


What do you think expository writing looks like? What do you think the purpose of expository writing is? Have you ever practiced this style before?

how to essays in everyday life
How-to Essays in Everyday Life

What do you think was the first step of getting this balloon off the ground? Where might you find more information on the subject?

Pg. 210

How to instructions are one of the most important types of writing that you encounter in your daily life. They help make it easier to use a wide range of items. When was the last time that you came across instructional writing?

what is a how to essay
What is a How-to Essay?

Exposition is writing that informs or explains

A how-to essay is a short, focused piece of expository writing that explains how to do or make something. The writer breaks the process down into a series of logical steps and explains them in the order in which the reader should do them. The key features of an effective how-to essay are:

A focused topic that can be fully explained in the length of an essay.

Clear explanations of any terms or materials that may be unfamiliar to readers.

A series of logical steps explained in chronological, or time, order.

Charts, illustrations, and diagrams as necessary to make complicated procedures understandable.

types of how to essays
Types of How to Essays

Following are some of the how-to essays you might write:

How to do something (“how to fly a kite”)

How to make something (“how to make a kite”)

How to improve a skill (“How to steer a kite”)

How to achieve a desired effect (“How to do a desired trick with a kite”)

explain it to a martian
Explain it to a Martian. . .



  • Rinse toothbrush
  • Remove toothbrush from holder
  • Wet toothbrush
  • Rinse mouth
  • Brush teeth
  • Put toothpaste on toothbrush
  • Put toothbrush in holder


follow steps in a sequence
Follow Steps in a Sequence

Keeping things in the correct order is always helpful, but in how-to essays, it is critical.

Whether baking a cake or programming a VCR, doing things out of order can result in failure.

In a how-to essay, the use of the transition words provides cues for the reader as to the sequence of steps.

the great peanut butter and jelly experiment
The great Peanut Butter and Jelly Experiment

It is your turn to begin an expository essay with the explanation of how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Remember, specifics and detailed instruction. Before you begin, pair share with a partner about the best place to start, and what steps should be considered.

how to essay
How-to Essay

"In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself."—Alfred Kazin, American literary critic and historian

You encounter how-to instructions often in your daily life—in instruction booklets, recipes, or lists of directions, just to name a few examples. In a how-to essay, you explain how to do or make something. You break the process down into logical steps and arrange those steps in the right order for your reader to follow.

A successful how-to essay should explain its topic fully arrange steps in proper chronological order provide clear explanations of any terms or materials that may be unfamiliar to readers include charts, illustrations, or diagrams as necessary to clarify complicated procedures

considering your audience
Considering Your Audience

How-to essays have a clearly defined purpose – to explain the steps of a process or provide help in using a product. However, they can have many different audiences, or potential readers. Identify your audience and consider how it will affect your use of language and choice of details.

complete an audience profile
Complete an Audience Profile

To help you identify and address the needs of your audience, create an audience profile, a note card with information about your audience that you can refer back to as you write. Following are questions to consider in creating your audience profile:

Knowledge Level – How much does my audience know about the topic? Do they need a little or a lot of information? What terms will I need to define?

Age – What is the age of my audience? If you are writing for younger children, use simple vocabulary. If you are writing for adult readers, use more sophisticated terms.

Skill Set – What skills do my readers have? Does my audience understand the basic skills required for the process I am explaining? Should I review those skills as well as cover the specific steps of the procedure?



Before you begin writing, organize your details. Because most how-to essays describe a process that takes place over time, chronological order is often the most effective organization.


Whether you are writing a letter of complaint or a short story, the details and explanations you include can improve your writing. Add facts, descriptions, and details to help readers imagine the action or understand the ideas you present. The SEE method is one of many strategies that can help you strengthen your writing.

the see method
The SEE Method

Using the SEE Method  You strengthen your writing by providing greater depth of information when you use the SEE method—Statement, Extension, Elaboration. Start with a statement of the main idea. Then, write an extension by restating or explaining the first sentence. Elaborate further by providing even more detail about the main idea. Think of the SEE method as a way to shed more light on your subject:

applying the drafting strategies

Write an interest-grabbing lead for a description of a busy train station.

Complete the sentences below. Then, using the SEE method, elaborate on each one.

My favorite season is __?__.

__?__ played an important role in history.