Procedural or Functional Texts

Procedural texts inform the reader about how to do something. Sometimes it’s presented in a step-by-step format like how to make a recipe or put a toy together. The higher level procedural texts inform the reader about how to carry out goals such as how to begin a new career or learn or perfect a craft.

I often have teachers asking me for books to teach this skill. Here are a few that I have used that show the reader how to synthesize information from procedural or functional texts.

This one is good for kinder, first, and second and students will connect with learning to ride a bicycle.

 This one and the other one in the series, How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan are both funny. Kids could list procedures to do and not to do with these.

 

In Liz George’s book about empathy, students are given information about feelings. This is a good one for the youngest reader. Several examples are provided, but the reader could synthesize and write ways to show empathy to others.

The premise is silly enough to get young learners to pay attention and is a fun one to read for the steps 1-24. I think readers will get the premise of a functional text with this one.


In Jennifer Larue Huget’s book, students will read the procedures that the main character does to prepare and run away from home. There’s no step-by-step number of things to easily see so close reading will be necessary to pull the procedures out of the text. It’s also funny and will make a connection to students learning this type of text.

This is a true account of how a school was built in a remote village in Baltistan, a region in Pakistan. The procedures are not the main focus of the story, but readers could define the steps taken to get the school built after reading the story. I like this book because it shows what one person did to carry out a goal. When people want to do something that is new to them, this is what we do. We read books about how other people have done it. Procedural text or functional text help others to envision their own goals.

In this one, the steps are straightforward, simple sentences, making it perfect for the youngest reader to get the concept of procedural texts.


Here’s one for fourth grade and up about how to build an igloo. The steps are not listed as number one, etc., but paragraphs along with photographs explain how the igloo is constructed. The keystone piece is added last. Students could explore why this piece is called the keystone, and what other structures have one.


In this book about global warming, the causes of it are explained. It would be a challenge to older students to pull the procedures out that would lead to more global warming. It’s a twist on thinking about global warming as we usually list procedures to stop it from happening so this list would be a “what not to do” if we wanted to increase global warming.

How would you proceed if you wanted to write someone’s biography or retell a story? In this easy to read book, procedures are discussed that would be necessary to write a report. People who want to learn things, read books like this. Functional texts make learning limitless.

Get back to the basics of functional texts with this new version of an old favorite.


What a fun way to teach the steps involved in enjoying the book you choose to read. Steps are clearly listed as “step 1” etc. Step 5 is the “exciting part” where reading actually begins. Before reading the book, ask your young readers to list the steps they do to read. It does make you think about what, when, where, and how you read! Skills are also included such as sounding out words and predicting.

Have a girl problem? Here’s a book that lists steps in number format to solve many situations middle school girls may face.

Amelia’s procedures for success are not numbered, but will be a fun read and example of functional texts.

Lots of chapters that cover all types of functions such as how to eat with chopsticks, how to braid, and how to win a staring contest. Bullets or numerals are used as well as paragraphs to explain the different functions.

What can you do to help when you hear someone saying unkind words to another student? The text explains what kinds of words can hurt a person. Each function of caring is a heading for that section of the book. Students could list the procedures about how to help in “ouch moments.”

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