5 Steps to Organized Writing
After your children are writing sentences, teach them about paragraphs. Paragraphs are the key to organized writing. Each paragraph should contain one main idea or thought, and a topic sentence that sums up that thought in a nutshell. The paragraph should also contain supporting sentences that explain or supplement the leading idea in the topic sentence.
Here is how you could do this with your children:
- Tell your students to write a rough draft composition (about one or two pages long). Emphasize that their work will be rewritten after they learn a new writing technique. This composition can be about a book read, an experience, a trip or perhaps even be an original piece of fiction. (See more ideas in the Easy Homeschooling books, http://www.easyhomeschooling.com)
- Next—perhaps the next day—have your children circle, highlight, underline or bold (if using a word processor) the sentences that are most important. These are the topic sentences. In a handwritten one page essay, there should be approximately two to five topic sentences. You could use a different colored highlighter or pencil for each paragraph.
- Then, the supporting sentences need to be gathered together with each topic sentence. Have your students highlight or circle the supporting sentences and then draw arrows or lines to the circled topic sentence, which may also be highlighted. Change colors for each paragraph.
- Rewrite into paragraphs, placing each topic sentence with its supporting sentences. Topic sentences can be anywhere in the paragraph, but are usually at the beginning.
- Organize the paragraphs by thinking what topic should come first, second and so on. Rewrite.
After doing this exercise a few times, your children’s writing will become far more organized—even their first drafts!
© 2005 Lorraine Curry. Lorraine is the author of 5 Star books, Easy Homeschooling Techniques and Easy Homeschooling Companion. See more ideas for writing and other subjects, FREE articles, checklists, copywork, subscriptions, ebooks and more at http://www.easyhomeschooling.com.
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