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Distinguish Between Explanations, Instructions and Non-Chronological Reports

In this worksheet, students practise distinguishing between three types of non-fiction text: explanations, instructions and non-chronological reports.

'Distinguish Between Explanations, Instructions and Non-Chronological Reports' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Understand Structure and Purpose

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

An explanation is a type of non-fiction text that explains a process (such as how something works or why something happens). It is easy to confuse explanations with two other types of non-fiction texts: instructions and non-chronological reports.

 

 

Explanations and instructions can be confusing because both often begin with the word How.

For example:

How a helicopter works (explanation)

How to make chocolate brownies (instructions)

 

The main difference between them is that explanations are describing something, but instructions are telling someone what to do. Instructions are likely to have numbers or bullet points and the sentences usually begin with imperative verbs (e.g. Mix the ingredients together, Glue the parts to each other).

 

Explanations and non-chronological reports are both written in the present tense and both describe things, so again it is easy to get confused. The main difference is that reports usually describe an object (e.g. All about hedgehogs, The City of Paris), while explanations describe a process (something that happens). Explanations are written in time order and use connectives such as first, then, after that and finally.

 

In this worksheet, you can practise telling the difference between explanations, instructions and non-chronological reports. Remember that you can look back at this introduction as often as you like by clicking the Help button.

Look at this title and decide whether the text will be an explanation or a set of instructions.

 

How to build a model aeroplane

explanation

instructions

Look at this title and decide whether the text will be an explanation or a set of instructions.

 

How a model aeroplane works

explanation

instructions

Is this likely to be the title of a non-chronological report or an explanation?

 

Life in the rainforest

non-chronological report

explanation

Is this likely to be the title of a non-chronological report or an explanation?

 

The life cycle of a moth

non-chronological report

explanation

Is this the title of an explanation, a non-chronological report or a set of instructions?

 

Why birds migrate

explanation

non-chronological report

instructions

All these titles feature bicycles, but are different types of text. Match them to their descriptions.

Column A

Column B

All about bicycles
instructions
Build your own bicycle
non-chronological report
How a bicycle works
explanation

This passage is taken from a text. Which type of text do you think it is from?

 

1) Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2) Mix the dry ingredients together.

3) Melt the butter and stir into the mixture.

explanation

non-chronological report

instructions

Which type of text is this passage taken from?

 

After the skydiver jumps out of the plane she pulls the ripcord on her parachute. This makes the parachute open up, which increases the skydiver's air resistance and makes her fall to the ground more slowly.

explanation

non-chronological report

instructions

  • Question 1

Look at this title and decide whether the text will be an explanation or a set of instructions.

 

How to build a model aeroplane

CORRECT ANSWER
instructions
EDDIE SAYS
This is the title of a set of instructions. It will include the steps that someone must follow in order to make the aeroplane.
  • Question 2

Look at this title and decide whether the text will be an explanation or a set of instructions.

 

How a model aeroplane works

CORRECT ANSWER
explanation
EDDIE SAYS
This time it is the title of an explanation. The text will describe what goes on inside a model aeroplane to make it fly.
  • Question 3

Is this likely to be the title of a non-chronological report or an explanation?

 

Life in the rainforest

CORRECT ANSWER
non-chronological report
EDDIE SAYS
The text is likely to describe lots of different creatures that live in the rainforest rather than a sequence of events in time order, so it is a report rather than an explanation.
  • Question 4

Is this likely to be the title of a non-chronological report or an explanation?

 

The life cycle of a moth

CORRECT ANSWER
explanation
EDDIE SAYS
This text will be an explanation. It will describe the stages of the moth's life in the correct order.
  • Question 5

Is this the title of an explanation, a non-chronological report or a set of instructions?

 

Why birds migrate

CORRECT ANSWER
explanation
EDDIE SAYS
This is quite tricky but it is an explanation. The text will include details of the days getting shorter, which leads to the birds heading south and so on. The stages need to be described in the right order, which is what makes it an explanation rather than a non-chronological report.
  • Question 6

All these titles feature bicycles, but are different types of text. Match them to their descriptions.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

All about bicycles
non-chronological report
Build your own bicycle
instructions
How a bicycle works
explanation
EDDIE SAYS
The information in 'All about bicycles' does not need to be in any particular order, so it is a report rather than an explanation.
  • Question 7

This passage is taken from a text. Which type of text do you think it is from?

 

1) Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2) Mix the dry ingredients together.

3) Melt the butter and stir into the mixture.

CORRECT ANSWER
instructions
EDDIE SAYS
The numbers and imperative verbs show that it is a set of instructions.
  • Question 8

Which type of text is this passage taken from?

 

After the skydiver jumps out of the plane she pulls the ripcord on her parachute. This makes the parachute open up, which increases the skydiver's air resistance and makes her fall to the ground more slowly.

CORRECT ANSWER
explanation
EDDIE SAYS
This passage is taken from a text on how a parachute works. It describes what happens in the correct order, which is why it is an explanation and not a non-chronological report.
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