The Meaningful Composition (MC) series is a multi-level writing program for students in grades two through twelve who desire to use character-based (and sometimes biblically-based) materials, themes, and subject matter, including, but not limited to, character
stories, biographies, science and weather/nature topics, animal information, Bible stories, and much more. (You may see the types of papers and assignments and content by looking at the two-week samples of each book below.
Additionally, MC uses many of our original methods that we have tested with one hundred to two hundred students every year for the past ten years. These methods work—whether they are Directed Brainstorming and Scene-by-Scene development for story writing or Outlining Cards and Bibliography Cards for Research Report writing or the Three P’s of Persuasion for Essay Writing.
We take students by the hand and leave nothing to chance! (These methods can also be found in our samples.)
Below you will find the Tables of Contents, How to Use MC, Overview of Projects that each book contains, and two week samples to “try before you buy” for each MC book that is currently available. Check back often as we have been revising the past books and adding new books to the series over the past two years—and they will all (MC 4 I through MC 10 II, plus SAT/Timed Essay AND Big Research Paper) be available this spring 2015!
Be sure to read our Meaningful Composition General Guide & Overview.
See all Meaningful Composition titles :here:
Questions about our products? Email us :here: or call us at 260-433-4365 or 260-450-7063.
Meaningful Composition 4-I: Sentences, Paragraphs, and More
This first semester book for approximately fourth grade level writers is half grammar/usage and half composition. The book begins with learning parts of speech that are needed for good sentence writing. It expands on this with types of sentences, the five things a sentence must contain, topic sentences, transition sentences, support sentences, the SSS5 (Super Short Sentence of Five Words or Fewer), and the five parts of a paragraph. It introduces paragraph writing with fill-in-the blanks, cloze sentences, Five W’s, Q and A paragraphs, and more. It culminates in introducing students to writing from sources with given sources and the Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outlining method. Along the way, students will learn many of the editing techniques taught in all of Character Ink’s books via our signature Checklist Challenge. Some projects include S-by-S Outline and Essay over dolphins showing concern, descriptive paragraphs, S-by-S Outline and Essay over skunk traps, room descriptions, topical words writing, and more.
Meaningful Composition 4-II: Put Those Paragraphs Together!
This second semester book for approximately fourth grade level writers starts where 4-I left off. Students who do not need parts of speech review can begin right in with this Directed Writing Approach book. It begins with a quick review of the five things a sentence must contain, recognizing complete paragraphs, sentence order for basic paragraphs, our Checklist Challenge tasks, double adjectives, similes and metaphors, and a paragraph is a unit of thought. Lots of hand-holding in this book takes the upper elementary student through the paragraph process, including fill-in-the-blank paragraph writing, question and answer outlines, question and answer paragraph, numbering steps for chronological paragraph writing, and more. Projects in this book include our Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outline From Given Material and Essay over insect traps, dogs with good memories, Clara Barton, wolves, and animals with character. Additionally, students will learn to put multiple paragraphs together for longer essays and reports (again, with our Directed Writing Approach) including letter writing, book report writing, picture essay writing, and much more. Your student will become a confident young writer!
Projects Contained in This Book (sample coming soon!)
Sample Lessons (sample coming soon!)
Meaningful Composition 5-I: Writing for Real!
This book for approximately fifth grade writers contains many multi-paragraph writing projects to introduce students to a myriad of writing skills. Students will learn “pre-writing” or “need to know this in order to complete the projects” skills such as finding the main idea of paragraphs, quotation inclusion, beginning research skills, using an encyclopedia, incorporating our Overview Source Method to source writing, beginning use of our Color-Coded Research, mapping, brainstorming, thesis statement writing, thesis statement “reloaded” writing, using our Checklist Challenge for editing, and outlining on outlining cards. Projects in this book include many Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outlines and Essays/Reports including inventor Bob LeTourneau, missionary Jonathan Goforth, volcanoes, raccoons, the guillernot, George Mueller, and casts. Students also complete many projects in which they find their own sources (or come up with creative material on their own—again, using our Directed Writing Approach). Some of these include animals that do or do not show mercy, thank-you letters, scientific animal report (zoology), compare/contrast essay, short story, and more. This book will excite your young student about writing! Note that all of our first semester books from 5-I through and including 9-I have step-by-step lessons on How to Create and Write From a Sentence-by-Sentence Outline Over Given Material and How to Complete the Checklist Challenge.
Projects Contained in This Book (sample coming soon!)
Sample Lessons (sample coming soon!)
Meaningful Composition 5-II: Creative and Clever
This beginning creative writing book is jam-packed with creative projects while using many of the techniques from our earlier books. Just because it is a creative writing book does not mean that we leave students floundering! All of our books (including our creative writing books) use Character Ink’s Directed Writing Approach, taking students by the hand and teaching them step-by-step HOW to write each type of writing contained in that book. This second semester book written for approximately fifth grade writers (though any student who has completed any first semester book and who wants to learn to write creatively may use this exciting book) teaches students the skills needed to write creatively, including varied synonym use, strong verb use, writing details in a setting, personification, onomatopoeia, avoiding redundancy, imagery, our Checklist Challenge editing task list, and other pre-writing techniques for story writing. Projects in this book include Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outline and essay over earthquakes/description of the land, ethical dilemma story, and doves. Original projects include story completion, poetry completion, animals speak essay, Country Mouse/City Mouse Piggyback Story, greeting card writing, Personal Timeline, Personal Time Capsule, Possessions Revolt, Personal Essay About Self, Do Good Unto Others Day Essay, and Historical Timeline Essay. Fun stuff all in our Directed Writing Approach—step-by-step with no guesswork!
Projects Contained in This Book (sample coming soon!)
Sample Lessons (sample coming soon!)
Meaningful Composition 6-I: Long and Strong
This first semester book for middle schoolers gets students moving from simpler projects to more advanced projects (including citing quotes!) with lots of hand-holding and skill building along the way. Once again, this book contains the pre-writing skills needed to complete this book’s projects including creating bibliography cards, quotation inclusion and citations, thesis statement development, listing sources using a Works Cited page, outlining card creation, Checklist Challenge editing revisions, writing with strong verbs, avoiding redundancy, main idea creation, and much more. Long and Strong includes a few Sentence-by-Sentence Outline (S-by-S) and Essay/Report From Given Material about wolves, Bible characters, a loon, bacteria, raccoon story, and more. Students are introduced to various Opening and Closing Paragraph types including our Definition Template Paragraph, Quotation Paragraph, Comparing/Contrasting Closing, and Story Opening. Additionally, students complete many original projects including a multi-step instructional essay, biographical report (with an introduction to formal outlining), friendly letter, animal of the Bible, and personal testimonial. Note that all of our first semester books from 5-I through and including 9-I have step-by-step lessons on How to Create and Write From a Sentence-by-Sentence Outline Over Given Material and How to Complete the Checklist Challenge.
Projects Contained in This Book (coming soon!)
Sample Lessons (coming soon!)
Meaningful Composition 6-II: Junior High Essays
Our second semester books are type-specific, meaning that each one is either essay writing, creative writing, or report writing throughout that book—at that book’s level. Once a student completes any first semester MC book, he or she can easily move into a second-semester book of your choice. This essay-only book for junior high students takes students carefully and incrementally through the essay process. Again, pre-writing skills are taught in each lesson including the topic sentence/opening sentence, the train analogy for five paragraph writing, third person writing, thesis statements, brainstorming, research, our five-paragraph approach, quotation use, determining paragraph topics, Checklist Challenge completion and coding, opening and closing paragraph types, transition words and phrases, and our Patterned Paragraph Template. This book contains a handful of Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outlining and Writing From Given Material including three zoo animals, three presidents, and one fruit. Original projects abound (again, extremely incrementally—your student WILL learn to write essays!) including three zoo animals, going from one topic per paragraph to one topic per essay via paragraph dissecting, one animal, one fruit, three presidents, and one president. Additionally, students are taught to become very specific and intentional in their openings and closings via our Patterned Paragraph template, Quotation Paragraph Template, and Story Paragraph Template. Note that this book is also excellent for introducing young (or inexperienced) high school writers to essay writing.
Sample Lessons (25 pages)
Meaningful Composition 7-I: Reports and Essays Galore
This first semester junior high book challenges the junior high student with all types of projects (essays, reports, stories, and more) using our Directed Writing Approach and tons of help every step of the way. Reports and Essays Galore contains dozens and dozens of pre-writing lessons to be sure that the student is ready for the interesting projects contained in this book. Some of these pre-writing lessons include Checklist Challenge Coding, formal outlining, transition sentences, outlining cards, source choosing, beginning MLA parenthetical citation, source merging, dialogue creation, Works Cited development, Major Works and Minor Works differentiation, first (and second and third) person writing, point of view, indirect quotes, Overview Source use, Be a Helper Link Verbs, redundancy avoidance, brainstorming, and more. This book contains limited Sentence-by-Sentence Outlining and Writing From a Given Source including Corrie ten Boom, penguins, Machu Picchu, symbols, George Washington Carver, and wheat. Original projects in which students find their own sources or write from their own knowledge include creative essay The Birds Speak, Piggy Back Story, a research report over a weather phenomenon, Dialogue Essay about an angry or forgiving person, Before and After Approach to Opening and Closing Paragraphs, a research report over a country, and more. Note that all of our first semester books from 5-I through and including 9-I have step-by-step lessons on How to Create and Write From a Sentence-by-Sentence Outline Over Given Material and How to Complete the Checklist Challenge.
Sample Lessons (27 pages)
Meaningful Composition 7-II: Completely Creative
Our Junior High creative writing book takes off project-wise where our MC 5-II: Creative and Clever takes off—with even more challenging and exciting projects! This book may follow any first semester MC book (from 5 I through 9 I) and/or MC 5 II. Story writing techniques are taught incrementally including Goals, Obstacles, and Resolution planning; avoiding passive writing by reducing the use of Be, a Helper, Link verbs; dialogue writing including varied speech tag types and advanced speech tag use; perspective writing; speech tag word synonyms; descriptive writing; weaving in opening and closing in story writing; short story writing; first person vs third person; protagonist development; writing scene descriptions, verb-generated descriptions; researching setting and characters; scene/setting development; “show-don’t-tell” descriptions; and mannerisms and actions of characters. Projects in this book are Piggy Back Story, short story of a person getting out of a room, a good Samaritan tale, short story of two views, Dialogue Essay between two inventors, In-the-Moment Dialogue Essay, Personal and Historical Time Line Essay, and Comparison Mannerisms and Actions Story.
Meaningful Composition 8-I: Bridging the Gap
Our first semester book for approximately eighth grade writers “bridges the gap” from junior high writing to high school writing. Just like all first semester books from fourth grade up through and including ninth grade, this book contains a variety of projects in many areas (essay, report, creative, and more). Pre-writing lessons include formal MLA-Modified Citations, moving from paragraph outlining to Section-Paragraph Outlining, comparing/contrasting writing, persuasive essay introduction, thesis statement development, plagiarism instruction, Character Ink’s signature Color-Coded Research, our Overview Source Method for source merging, Major and Minor Work differentiation, bibliography cards creation, merging sources, formal outlining, and more. A few projects using a Sentence-by-Sentence (S-by-S) Outline and Writing From Given Material are included: The Meager Shoemaker story, debtors’ prison, Voltaire, and gangrene. Original projects abound, including biographical report over a explorer, vegetation research report, historical fiction story, missionary organization research report, persuasive letter of appeal, and more.
Meaningful Composition 8-II: Junior High Research Reports
Our “second semester” books are type-specific, meaning that each one is either essay writing, creative writing, or report writing—at that book’s level. Once a student completes any first semester MC book, he or she can easily move into a second-semester book of your choice. This research report-only book for junior high students takes students carefully and incrementally through the research report process. Pre-writing lessons include modified MLA-Citation, formal outlining, bibliography cards, Works Cited, quotation inclusion, merging sources, advanced sentence combining, plagiarism instruction, Color-Coded Research, going from Paragraph Outlining to Section-Paragraph Outlining, and much more. Very specific instruction on opening and closing paragraphs is included—the Definition Template Paragraph, the Quotation Template Paragraph, the Story Paragraph Template, and the Biographical Template Paragraph. Projects included in this book are Three Explorers (with a detailed-writing expansion lesson), One Explorer, Five W’s Outline and Report, Three Fruits (With Patterned Paragraph instruction), One Fruit, Spider Webs, Four or Five Animals of One Classification, One Animal That Shows Endurance Through Struggles, and One Invention. This incremental book provides results—junior high students who can truly research, outline, and write research reports!
Sample Lessons (30 pages)
Meaningful Composition 9 I: Writing for High School
Our first “high school” book in the MC series covers a lot of ground in order to help the eighth through tenth grade writer (or older for remediation) get ready for all of the challenges in high school writing. Note that all of our first semester books (from 5-I through and including 9-I ) have step-by-step lessons on How to Create and Write From a Sentence-by-Sentence Outline Over Given Material and How to Complete the Checklist Challenge.
Thus, if you have a high schooler who has not learned how to outline in that manner or how to use our fantastic Checklist Challenge, this is a great book to start with since the projects are at higher thinking and writing levels—while still giving some of that bare-bones instruction that might be needed. This book also contains our Advanced Checklist Challenge lessons—spread out in incremental fashion throughout the book.
These lessons really put those years of grammar instruction to the test—and will leave your student with a “now I know why I needed to learn that” feeling towards his prior English studies! There are literally dozens of pre-writing strategies taught in this book (sort of one of each pre-writing lesson found in the junior high first semester books all squeezed into one book!): detailed opening and closing paragraph lessons (with strong samples);Color-Coded Research (including the merging of four or more sources); MLA Works Cited and parenthetical in-text citations; imagery– including similes, metaphors, alliteration, and more; outlining and bibliography cards; formal outlining; Patterned Paragraphs vs. Freestyle Paragraphs; linking paragraphs; Major and Minor Source instruction; storytelling elements–including (but not limited to) first person, point of view, story retelling from a source, character development, dialogue, speech tags, scene development, goals, and obstacles; writing with senses; the 1-3-1 Essay; and so much more! Some projects in this book include Three Presidents (including Patterned Paragraphs); One President Biographical Essay; Vertebra Report From Given Material; George Washington Carver Report From Given Material; Piggy Back Story—The Prince and the Pauper; Spider Webs report; Three Characteristics of a Strong Leader (1-3-1 Essay and Three P’s of Persuasion); Vision Problems Report (informative research paper); Research Report Benefits of the Sun; and more.
Sample Lessons (46 pages)
Meaningful Composition 9 II: High School Creative Writing
Our creative writing book for high school students takes off project-wise where our MC 7-II: Completely Creative takes off—with more detailed story writing techniques and advanced creative essays. This book may follow any first semester MC book (from 5 I through 9 I) and/or MC 5 II or MC 7 II. Following our normal Directed Writing Approach, this book delves into story writing while taking students by the hand with pre-writing strategies such as character development, perspective, dialogue, speech tag words, hindrances and problems, resolution, time period writing, using color in stories, protagonist development, onomatopoeia, comparative words and actions, verb-generated writing; show-don’t-tell descriptions, character mannerisms, first and third person story telling, six advanced story writing elements, actions and encounters, weaving background information, conciseness techniques; giving voice to characters through dialogue, and much, much more! Story writing projects include a Piggy Back Story of a Queen’s Escape; an original very short story of perspective; Piggy Back Story of a Meager Shoemaker (with detailed expansion story lessons); Piggy Back Story of The Gift of the Magi (with different time and location details); Blind Person Perspective Story; and Original Historical Fiction. Creative Essays include Advanced Time Line Essay (ten years); Three Color Essay (including Patterned Paragraphs); Dialogue Essay Between Two Authors (including giving voice to the two authors); Five Paragraph Essay (or 1-3-1 Essay); and Definition Paragraph.
Meaningful Composition 10-I: Essays Only
Our high school MC books from 10 I on (and many of our Bonus Books) are all about specific writing types needed for success in high school literature, AP classes, test situations, college entrance writing, and college writing. In other words, our high school books have it all: story writing, detailed essay writing, MLA research report writing, and much more—all in incremental fashion with step-by-step (“Directed Writing Approach”) instructions. We leave nothing to chance, and our books are far from writing idea books. This essay-only books uses original methods that equip students to write all types of essays. Pre-writing strategies in Essays Only set your student up for success in the high-level projects contained in this book: introduction of the 1-3-1 Essay (vs. The Five-Paragraph Essay); Directed Brainstorming; Working Thesis Statement The Three P’s of Persuasion (POSITION, POINTS, AND PROOFS); Color-Coded Research for Essay Writing; PROOF Pages development; Applying PROOF Pages to writing, Three P’s Mapping; Sentence Opener Instruction, detailed quotation inclusion lessons, linking paragraphs, Checklist Challenge coding, time management in writing, prompt dissection, the Persuasive Essay Tree; and much more! Projects included in this book are Three “Best” Essays; Original Influential Person Essay; Persuasive Flag Essay From Given Material; Simplified SAT Essay With Prompt Dissection; and several SAT Essays With and Without Time Constraints; and Timed Essays With Prompts.
Meaningful Composition 10-II: Four Research Reports
Our MC 8 II: Junior High Research Reports, as well as projects in other junior high first semester books, all point to and lead up to this challenging high school research reports book. This book brings all research and citation elements together in four incremental projects laid out in weekly lessons. Report I: Five or Six Agriculture Products is a two to three source ten paragraph paper that includes bibliography cards, outlining cards, Works Cited, quotation inclusion, our “Overview Source Method” of research, our “Color-Coded Research” method of merging sources, and MLA source citation for quotes. Report II: One Agriculture Product is a three to four source project of ten to twelve paragraphs that includes bibliography cards, outlining cards, Works Cited, Major Works and Minor Works instruction, “Overview Source Method” of research, our “Color-Coded Research” for merging sources; MLA parenthetical citation for quotation inclusion; our “Section-Paragraph-Sentence Approach to Note Taking” and beginning formal outlining. Report III: A Biography of One Who Contributed to Society is a five to six source project of sixteen to twenty total paragraphs that includes all of the above elements from Reports I and II and adds Redundancy/Synonym Brainstorming; parenthetical citation for paraphrased material; advanced content-based speech tags for quotes; cover page development; and advanced Checklist Challenge tasks. Finally, Report IV: Topic of Choice brings all of the previous skills and techniques introduced in the first three projects in a multi-week, lengthy paper that shows your student’s research and citation skills at their best. This project utilizes six to nine sources and twenty to twenty-four information-packed paragraphs. You and your student will be extremely proud of the final products he or she has at the end of this high school book.
Meaningful Composition 11 I: Timed Essays and Three P’s of Persuasion
Timed Essays and Three P’s of Persuasion will prepare your student for any type of timed writing, contest writing, college-entry writing, etc.—and especially for any situation in which the student needs to know how to write the Five Paragraph Essay . (The last half of the book focuses on timed writing in general and SAT/ACT Essay specifically.)
This book, however, is so much more than SAT/ACT prep—it is truly a “thinking” book. Our signature techniques will teach your student how to develop the Three P’s of Persuasive (POSITION, POINT, PROOF) for dozens of prompts. Students learn how to apply literature, history, economics, current events, and more to any essay prompt (through our Proof Pages).
They learn how to write a quality essay with “smart” examples and reasoning in twenty-five minutes. Excellent editing skills are taught with passages in which students find errors—thus, making them better editors of their own writing. It also includes our signature Definition Dissection—our Six Tricks to figure out the meanings of unknown words in any sentence. This book was five years in the making and testing by Joshua and Donna. Our students have gotten outstanding SAT/ACT verbal and writing scores after using these methods. You will not be disappointed with its strategies or end results!
Meaningful Composition 12-II: The BIG Research Paper
Our final “regular” MC book is a challenge. Every other year or so we have a few college-bound seniors in our Cottage Classes who want to “do it all”! That is, they want to write one super long paper with MLA formatting with all the bells and whistles. When that happens, this is the book we use! Students will end up with a fourteen to twenty page, one-semester long (in terms of time for the project) research paper in which they include a parenthetical citation in the text of their paper every time they change sources (ten to twenty sources total!)—and, of course, every time they include a quotation. If your student has completed MC 10 II: Four Research Reports (or has done several medium-length research papers in 8 I, 9 I, and/or 11 I and loves writing reports and all of the nuances of citation), this is the book to use. We leave nothing to chance in this step-by-step book.
...and download my Kid's Faves list plus get access to my language arts freebies!