I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to introduce this series and its author, Kathy Lawson. I have been looking for help with children who are a little older. This writing series is geared to Middle School aged students. Kathy started by tutoring a couple of students with her own when they were in Middle School. In a very short time, she had 100 students coming in and out of her house every week. I will tell her to send examples of the “before” and “after” with their writing. It is nothing short of amazing! Also, she is now teaching English at a large private high school in Tennessee. I know her extremely well. We’ve known each other since the womb — she is my twin sister! Without further adieu, here’s Kathy!
Teaching writing to children can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is often not taught well in the schools and parents tend to avoid teaching it as well. However, good writing skills not only need to be an important part of your child’s learning, it can be done relatively easily with systematic and structured activities.
The first lesson in teaching writing starts with having your child actually write. The more they write, and the younger you start them off on regular writing, the less resistance you will find.
I have taught the following lesson from students grade 5 to high school with beautiful results.
This first lesson focuses on writing sentences with strong verbs.
Writing Quality Sentences: Strong Verbs
- Journal Entry
- Lecture and notes on Strong Verbs
- Revise Journal Entry using Strong Verbs
Journal Entry: I have never been more frightened than when…
Write at least 8 quality sentences.
Lecture Notes Strong Verbs:
Verbs are used in every sentence you write. Good writing depends on using strong verbs effectively.
1) Strong verbs show instead of tell. They can give more information about a sentence.
(Notice the second set of verbs give more specific information.)
Example: The puppy ate the shoe.
Better: The puppy devoured the shoe. The puppy nibbled the shoe.
Example: The bull hurt the farmer.
Better: The bull gored the farmer. The bull nicked the farmer.
Example: The teacher walked away.
Better: The teacher stormed away. The teacher strolled away..
2) Using more specific and effective verbs is better than a weak adverb and weak verb combination.
Example: He looked quickly at his watch.
Better: He glanced at his watch.
Example: The lion ferociously ate the antelope.
Better: The lion gobbled the antelope.
Example: The woman talked quietly.
Better: The woman whispered.
3) Only using “Being Verbs” (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) shows a lack of maturity and depth.
Example: The chair is curved.
Better: The chair curves to fit your body.
Example: The movies are entertaining.
Better: The movies entertain with action scenes.
Example: There is a storm warning.
Better: A storm warning exists.
Example: This was a surprising turn of events.
Better: A surprising turn of events occurred.
Another way to deal with being words that are acting as linking verbs is to substitute stronger linking verbs.
Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been are linking verbs.
But so are these: appear, become, feel, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, and turn.
Example: She is ill.
Better: She feels ill. She becomes ill.
Example: He was sad.
Better: He appeared sad. He seemed sad.
Example: They were surprised.
Better: They felt surprised. They grew surprised.
Revise verbs in your journal entry.
Highlight verbs in your journal writing that was completed at the beginning of the lesson.
Revise any weak verbs for strong verbs.