Most of my experience and memory with writing and writing skills education comes from high school and college—both as a student and later as an instructor—but I recently had a chance to sit down with Jennifer, a primary school educator who had lots of experience teaching reading skills to young children. After all, you have … Continue reading Teaching Reading Skills to Young Children
You know the one we’re talking about. The 5-paragraph essay is composed of a one-paragraph introduction (head), 3 main paragraphs (body), and one concluding paragraph (tail). First, you clearly state a thesis which explains to the reader what you’re going to tell them. Then, you tell them. Finally, you sum up what you’ve said in … Continue reading 5-Paragraph Essay Construction Revisited
One of the things we’ve heard from and told to writers is that you should look to vary your sentence length and structure. Ask them why, however, and you’re liable to get a range of answers that all kind of circle around the same insight: Because that’s how you create voice. Because that’s how people … Continue reading Exploring Varied Sentence Structure and Length
One of the ways in which I like to recognize that writing is a skill is that it can be easily distinguished from general intelligence. To be fair, there is definitely a connection. I’ve talked to psychologists and linguists who say one of the individual measures that are most closely related to general intelligence is … Continue reading How Math People can Approach Writing
I’ve heard a lot of great writing advice over the years. To cast away the 5-paragraph essay and staid, over-standardized rules, I think of the succinct quote from Elmore Leonard. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” To maintain my passion for writing even when it doesn’t feel like fun anymore, I think of … Continue reading What’s the Single Best Piece of Advice to Teach Writing Skills?