From Writing Gaps to Writing Success
Writing progress is sequential. That’s a simple way of saying that successful writers build their skills by mastering one writing proficiency at a time and building on a previous foundation. If writing instruction “jumps around” too much, gaps in your student’s knowledge can widen.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a formula that you could use in your homeschool to close any writing gaps and help ensure that your young writer becomes as proficient as possible? Maybe there is!
Starting with the Sentence
It’s easy to forget that everything you read in books, magazines, mail, and on the web can be broken down into individual sentences. No matter what concept an author is trying to get across, he or she must construct it with well written individual sentences.
One of the key reasons middle and high school writing problems can surface is because students never truly mastered the structure of sentence writing. If you see that your student is struggling with writing, take time to examine their individual sentences. If you notice issues like sentence fragments, run-ons, problems with subject-verb agreement, or lack of parallel structure, you’ll want to remediate with training on writing clear and complete sentences.
Weaving Sentences into Paragraphs
The next building block of effective writing is the paragraph. Even if a student can form a strong, complete sentence, he or she must be able to combine it with other sentences in a unified, coherent way.
Middle and high school English teachers commonly report that students who were not adequately trained in paragraph writing find themselves overwhelmed when tackling longer forms of writing. A successful paragraph writer is one who can structure a paragraph with a topic sentence plus sentences that provide well-developed supporting evidence for the topic. It is usually rounded out with a strong closing or concluding sentence. It should also transition the reader easily from one idea to the next.
From Paragraphs to Essays
Only after students have truly mastered strong sentences and cohesive paragraphs, should they move on to more advanced composition. The great news is that combining those sentences and paragraphs into a fully-formed essay is the next natural progression of a student’s writing growth.
When students graduate into college or career, chances are they will need to be able to explain themselves via report, policy, instructional, or some other form of writing. Learning how to construct a formal essay is preparation for that future responsibility. Being able to plan, draft, write, and revise a multi-paragraph paper shows that your student is a strong communicator.
The formula for bridging writing gaps is to progress from sentence writing to paragraph writing to essay writing, mastering each skill before moving on to the next. If your homeschooler needs remediation in any of these areas, simply sign up for the eight-week Time4Writing online course that targets the skill you want to improve.