How-To Writing

How-to writing pieces are a great assignment for emergent writers.  In a how-to piece, the writer describes how to do a task they complete on a regular basis using transitional words and phrases.  After deciding what to write about, it’s simple to jot down the steps it takes to complete the task and turn it into an informative writing piece.  But it’s deciding what to write about that’s the difficult part.  Typically, the task the writer describes is something he has expertise in.  Sometimes, that’s not as easy as it seems.  After all, many students in first or second grade don’t feel as if they’re experts at anything.  Below, I’ve listed some key attributes of a how-to piece and some ideas to get your students started.

How-To Pieces:

  • Use transitional words, such as: first, next, after, then, finally or last
  • Describe how to do a simple task in a step-by-step format
  • Review the materials needed to complete the task

Examples of Tasks to Write About:

  • How to make a sandwich
  • How to get ready to play outside in the snow
  • How to feed your cat
  • How to have a picnic
  • How to get ready for school
  • How to watch a movie
  • How to brush your teeth
  • How to take a photograph

Katrina Martin

Katrina Martin is the owner of Katrina's Resources and a B-6 certified teacher in New York State. She specializes in elementary education and curriculum development. You can read her blog at or view her educational resources on

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