Determine the author’s purpose
Draw evidence from text
A technical text is a document that provides a particular group of people information about a specialized subject.
Interpret Words and Phrases in Text
Ask students if they remember a time they used written directions to install, build, or fix something. Point out that the directions they used were technical text. Ask whether the text did what it was meant to do, or fulfilled its purpose. Were you able to use, fix, or operate the device? What about the directions-what was helpful and what was not?
Tell students that technical texts are everywhere-in the form of instruction manuals, workplace memos, cookbooks, and more. Explain that these texts are useful tools for solving specific problems, many of which may be work-related. Ask students for examples of using technical texts at home or at work. (Sample answers: I used an instruction manual to set up my stereo. I used a company planning guide to prepare a presentation at work.) Ask students if these texts contained technical words that were difficult to understand. Explain that to offset difficult language, technical texts often include diagrams and illustrations.
- Determine Author’s Purpose in Technical Texts
Interpret Words and Phrases in Text: Have students circle any unfamiliar words in the installation instructions on page 103. Review how to use context dues to find the meaning of a word and recommend that students try this approach before they conduct an online search. Point out the different kinds of online support a person could find if necessary, such as online chats with customer service representatives. Check students’ notebooks to verify that their definitions can help them understand the technical text.
Draw Conclusions: Show students a regulation such as this. Have students look carefully at the regulation and point out facts and details that indicate why the law was written. Point out that all of the capitalized words are referring to jobs or locations where workers could get injured. Explain that based on how the law is worded, one can conclude that it was written in order to protect 14- and 15-year olds from taking dangerous jobs. Have students complete the sidebar activity on their own and write their conclusion on the board. Work with the class to compare students’ conclusions.
Draw Conclusions: Have English language learners select one of the illustrated passages in the lesson and translate some of the technical words into their first language. To extend this activity, have them give the translated technical text to someone who is proficient in English. The proficient English speaker should use the illustrations and his or her own knowledge to infer the meaning of the translated words.
Critique Instructions: Tell students that they will assume the role of a technical writer. Have them write instructions to tell how to do something with which they are familiar. Have students exchange instructions and critique whether they make sense and are simple to use.