Summary of writing Works

The Writing Works text is advanced and is designed to dovetail with Grammar Works. Writing Works is actually the sequel to the Grammar Works text. It is a 400 page journey with three primary emphases: 1) The construction of an Advanced Grammar Notebook denoting higher level grammatical concepts, 2) an ongoing creation of a writing portfolio, and 3) historical anecdotes and quotes that explore the arena of writing forged by reputable authors including Nobel Prize winning authors.

A list of some of these authors whose intellects are tapped include the following: Benjamin Franklin, Francis Bacon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Ray Bradbury, Robert Frost, George Orwell, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, C. S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, Lydia Marie Child, Louis L’Amour and many others. Students will ponder quotes like these:

“Read, read, read. Read everything…Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you will find out. It it’s not, throw it out the window.”
William Faulkner

 

“For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”
Ernest Hemingway

 

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Mark Twain

 

On the way to constructing an Advanced Grammar Notebook, these additional concepts are introduced:

  • adjective and adverb prepositional phrases
  • gerunds, participles and infinitives
  • adverb, adjective and noun dependent clauses
  • the differences between phrases and clauses
  • subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns
  • essential and nonessential phrases and clauses

These concepts are added to the checklists introduced in Grammar Works. The process of Syntactical Analysis remains in force. Marking systems respecting these grammatical structures are applied. Students are also asked to construct sentences applying these concepts. The final application is a full Syntactical Analysis of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Lessons on how language functions are paramount, and applications with multiple levels of meaning abound in Writing Works.

Lastly, a Personal Writing Portfolio emerges as students navigate the writing prompts embedded in each lesson.

  • Every lesson begins with an introductory sample essay.
  • Each lesson contains new grammatical concepts with exercises to embed those concepts.
  • Each lesson presents writing prompts and a writing assignment so students can practice.
  • Each lesson also contains those classical moments in written language championed by celebrated authors.

If students can learn how celebrated authors think about the act of writing, they will be encouraged to persevere in their own writing. Here are some examples of Writing Prompts used in the text.

  • Under the Big Top (An essay comparing the act of writing with a totally unrelated activity. Ex. How is writing like a powerful aircraft carrier?)
  • Developing the Matrix (An essay exploring our most beautiful failures.)
  • The Empowering Nature of Storytelling (A Personal Narrative telling how a moment of challenge became a life lesson for the ages.)
  • To Wallow Not; To Die Not (An essay paying tribute to a hero who has influenced our life in some significant way.)
  • In the Wings the Demons Wait (An essay on perseverance and how it is necessary in the pursuit of excellence.)
  • The Jesse James Gang Bites the Dust (A biographical sketch celebrating a significant historical figure. Ex. Abraham Lincoln. Sandra Day O’Conner. Helen Keller. Henry Ford. Teddy Roosevelt.)
  • Knowing the Difference Between a Duck (Surprise your readers. Do a sketch on something ordinary and make it extraordinary. Strap us in to a NASCAR and punch it down the track at 200 mph. Put us on a Kentucky Derby thorough bred and open the gate. Dream the impossible dream. Snap! Crackle! Pop! Rice Krispies!)

Students who master the lessons in Writing Works will know what it means to stand on a firm literacy foundation. They will know more about the nature of our language than do most. Students who glean the messages of the quotes in the margins in this text will more clearly understand what effective use of the written language has done and can do for the advancement of civilization.

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