Thursday, February 14, 2008



Instructional Writing
Where Have You Encountered Process?

§Cooking—recipes are written in step-by-step processes.
§Whenever you buy a new product such as electronics or furniture, you are given an instruction manual on how to work the product or put it together.
§In your classes—you are taught usually using step-by-step guidelines.
§Getting directions to a house or other place.
Your Writing Objective

§Write instructions that explain how to do something.
§Topics are on p. 198 in Writing Assignment 1.
§You will be the expert on this topic, so choose something you know how to do really well.
§Your objective is to get readers to complete your process successfully using only what you have written.

§It is very important to consider your “intended audience”—who you are writing the instructions for.
§Process is usually written in second person
§If your audience knows little or nothing about your topic, you must explain everything in very basic terms.
EX: If you are explaining how to set up a spreadsheet to an audience that knows nothing about a computer, you will need to include fundamentals such as how to turn it on, get into the program, and more

§If your audience is already knowledgeable about topic, your explanations can be at a more advanced level.
§EX: If you are telling your audience how to set up a spreadsheet, you can begin already in the program because you can assume that your audience already knew how to turn the computer on and get into the appropriate program.
Prewriting for Process

§Listing works well
§Begin by listing all the steps you can think of that it takes to complete the process.
§Do not worry about the order of the steps.
§Spend at least ten minutes of listing.
§When you are finished with your list, it should be at least half a page long.
§If you have at least half a page of steps, you have a good process topic.
§If you have less than half a page, choose a different topic, or try freewriting.

Putting your list in step by step order

§Natural order for process is one step at a time, from start to finish.
§Very similar to chronological order.
§Before moving to drafting, look again at your list, and make sure all the steps are in the most logical order.
§Cross out unnecessary steps, and draw arrows to where steps should be moved
Look at List—Which Steps are Out of Order?

How to paint a room
vNeed both roller and brush
vBuy the right kind of paint
vApply the paint evenly
vProtect furniture and carpet
vWear old clothes
vDo ceiling first
vPaint edges and corners with a brush
vBrushing back and forth eliminates brush marks
vPut masking tape around edges and baseboard
vPaint one section at a time
vWash brush and roller afterward—soap and water
vImportance of good ventilation
vStir paint thoroughly before you begin
vUse even brush strokes
vUse long roller strokes
vLatex paint is easier to use
Prewriting—Giving Instructions Orally

§If possible, try giving instruction orally to see how successfully someone can complete the process using your instructions
Practice With Oral Instructions

§Divide into groups
§Each group will select a topic from below—no repeat topics
§Each group will write instructions on how to complete process.
§Each group will then instruct the class to do process using only what you have written.
Oral Process Topics

§How to do an exercise such as jumping jacks sit-ups, or push-ups
§How to do a simple line or square dance
§A first-aid skill such as how to bandage an injured ankle
§How to make a boat, an airplane or something else out of paper
§How to write a good resume or short business letter.
§A relaxation technique, a self-defense technique, or some other useful technique
§A communication technique such as how to be assertive in a specific situation or how to resolve a specific conflict
§What to do in case of an earthquake or a disaster drill
Follow-up Questions

§What parts of the instructions were easy to follow?
§What parts of the instructions, if any, were not clear enough?
§What information had to be added so that people could follow the instructions?
§What problems did you experience while giving instructions?
§What have you learned about giving instructions?

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