Sunday, January 24, 2016

Teaching Books

Six Ways to Incorporate Teaching Books in the Primary Classroom

If you teach a unit of study on Teaching Books (How To Books), we can get our kids ready for this writing in the day-to-day life of the classroom. This post will share some tips I learned at a TCRWP workshop. On a personal note, I love the Tony Stead and Linda Hoyt's units of study for this genre of writing in kindergarten. Their procedural units are kid friendly, easy to read and implement in the classroom.  You don't have to be doing a unit of study to create teaching posters for your classroom.

The Mentor Text that comes with Toni and Linda's Book 

Tips On Writing Teaching Books

1. Videotape the students doing a class job and write the steps together. Below you can see a quick video I did of feeding the fish with my class. When writing our How to Feed the Fish sign, we watched the video again and again while writing.

2. Write How to Instructions for choice time games such as checkers, Uno, and other favorite board games. You could take photographs of each step and add the text. Although the example below is interactive writing, you could make this a shared writing lesson where the teacher does all of the writing.

3. Write a How to Get Ready poster and display it in the coat area. For example; in Tony Stead's units of study he had the whole class write a How to Get Ready to go home story. I love this idea because the students have something that's familiar to them, to actually go out in the hall and do the steps. Years ago, I would let the kids write HOW TO stories and they would pick topics that didn't ordinarily do, for example, making a cake. The child would struggle with the steps because making cake was not something they actually did. Here are some other examples of using procedural posters.

4. Have a How to Wash your hands sign hanging in the bathroom. Again this is a familiar activity that children do every day, and they know the steps.

5. After learning a new math have the students write directions for the game they just learned. At reading workshop time you could write about a strategy the class is working on.

6. Kids love recess. Why not go outside and videotape the kids playing tag, a cartwheel or the Monkey Bars. Keep the video short.

We can then have our students brainstorm a list and put them in categories:
How To Make Something:

A drawing
Your siblings happy
Favorite food
A Valentine

How to Play:

Tag at recess
Hide and seek
Computer game

How To Do:

Monkey bars
Change a diaper
Have a good book discussion
Science experiment
Ride your bike
Cross the street safely

I like to make a bulletin board with their ideas. Click here for the template

Joyfully yours in teaching friends how to do the monkey bars,



  1. I really enjoy teaching How To writing. My kids like it as well. It's a nice change of pace after concentrating on Small Moments. I love your ideas, especially the one about videotaping them. Great stuff!

  2. Tammy,
    I think my favorite part is the videotaping too, such a simple idea! Melissa

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