Writing ideas. Writing prompts. Writing suggestions.
These are the things that cause children who do not know *how* to write to hate writing.
And it is often what we do to kids in an effort to get the writing. But they do not work for these kinds of kids.
So what works?
My Meaningful Composition co-author (my oldest child Joshua) and I have been writing a novel for, um, four years now. Well, truth be told, he has been writing it for nearly twenty years as he started outlining it when he was eighteen years old. It is finished actually, but Joshua is a perfectionist (at teaching, instructional writing, lesson plan preparation, and novel writing), so it isn’t finished in his eyes. We recently got it back out, dusted it off, and dug in to find his perfect spot again (and add in more technology…do you know how much things change in our world in four years?).
I have written seventy-five books in the past fifteen years—averaging 800 pages a book. The first forty were completely new books, and the next thirty-five have been re-writes and new books taken out of the original forty (i.e. half of the MC lessons came out of Character Quality Language Arts, for instance). But it has been a long journey nonetheless.
We made it! All twenty-one of the Meaningful Composition books are done! I wrote a few of them ten years ago, but over the past three years, I have written and/or revised all twenty-one books! Whooo….I’m tired! 🙂 But super excited!!!
Students everywhere (including public and private school students who can use the downloaded portions of MC, called Really Writing) can learn to write ALL types of writing (reports, essays, stories, dialogues, twice-told tales, and much, much more!) using my Directed Writing Approach—a pain-free, step-by-step approach to learning to write. I love kids—and I am so happy that kids will be able to learn with stress-free, amazing instruction and projects.
Meaningful Composition 5-I: Writing for Real
Tenth Grade: Work on whatever type of writing is needed for your student next.
Usually at this level, a student has decided whether or not he will go to college. For the student who is planning to go to college, the writing pressure is really on by tenth grade—because of the dreaded SAT/ACT Essay (and the verbal part in general).
It is obvious that a college-bound tenth grader needs to work on the SAT or ACT Essay and the portions of an SAT/ACT preparatory book that will help him with the verbal parts of these exams.
Ninth Grade: Teach pre-writing skills that are needed for the type of writing your student is doing.
Besides the aforementioned “writing idea” problem we sometimes create when we do not direct our students in their writing, another difficulty is that of not equipping the student with the skills necessary in order to write what we are asking him to write. It is so difficult for a student to complete a project if he has not been given/taught the skills that are needed in order to write that project well.
Eighth Grade: Teach various types of writing.
Once a student who has had a lot of writing instruction reaches eighth grade, he has probably had a lot of experience in sentence types, paragraph breaks, and multi-paragraph writing. This is a good stage to delve into various writing types, if you have not already done so. That is, it is great for an eighth grader to learn the nuances of not only “general” writing—but also the specifics of report, essay, and story writing. And even within those broader types of compositions, to learn about personal essays vs. persuasive ones and quotations in research reports and short story descriptive type of writing vs. longer stories with all elements of story writing.