This past weekend, I wish I could have been a couch potato, relaxing with a good book or two. Instead, I was working on my son's FAFSA (federal financial aid application) and our yearly tax return.
In genre terms, I was working with procedural text.
Reading is so much more than picture books and novels. If we take a really close look at all of the reading we do in the course of a day, I'm betting most of us consume text in a wide variety of ways: social media, emails, articles, and forms to fill in--the last of which is procedural text. Read this, follow these instructions, go on to the next step--we do this when we create new accounts, log in to existing accounts, fill in forms for online shopping and data gathering.
Aside from virtual reality, we use procedural text when cooking from recipes, building from instructions, follow printed directions to get from point A to point B. Filling out the paperwork at our doctor's office and DMV is essentially procedural text.
We have lots of great how-to books in our library, on topics such as origami, crafts, sewing, building, coding, robotics, and cooking. The next time your child comes home with one of these, please don't think of it as alternative, or less-than, reading. Children practice the real-life skill of following important instructions when they are involved in creating something step by step.
The cake flops if you forget an ingredient.
You get lost and run late if you make a wrong turn.
The assignment gets returned by your professor if you are missing a component.
The TV won't work if it's not installed properly.
The grant gets rejected for missing information.
The company can get sued if their parts are defective.
Medicine can be deadly if not administered appropriately.
Procedural text is important. Go bake a cake, fold a paper airplane, crochet a new scarf!