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Writing Basics

There are different methodologies in teaching writing. Some approach it via the grammar route, focusing on teaching parts of speech, punctuation, and capitalization rules as they introduce writing a sentence, then move on to paragraphs and essays. On the other hand, others claim that abstracted exercises in grammar workbooks do not carry over into application in the production of written work and argue that students should learn grammar rules only as the need arises. Regardless of which theory you prefer, your children must understand—and be able to use—the basic components, or building blocks, of writing.

Words
Develop a wide vocabulary of:

  • Specific, precise nouns.
  • Vivid, active verbs.
  • Colorful, sensory-rich adjectives and adverbs.
  • A complete range of prepositions.
  • Transition words (e.g. then, therefore, because, finally).

Phrases
Prepositional, participle, and other phrases can be used as modifiers and their positions in sentences changed around to give variety and rhythm.

Clauses
Dependent, independent, adverbial, and adjectival clauses also add variety to sentence structure.

Sentences
Learn to write all types of sentences: simple (with or without compound subjects or predicates), compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Changing the lengths and types of sentences within a piece makes it easier to read and more interesting and effective.

Paragraphs
Each paragraph should be a coherent and unified group of sentences that develops a topic sentence (whether it begins and introduces the paragraph or ends and clinches it). The topic may be developed by facts, examples, incidents, or reasons that are presented in order of location, chronology, or importance (ascending or descending).

Compositions
The finished piece of writing links paragraphs together logically using transitional expressions and the repetition of key words.

Our thanks to Teaching Home Magazine for this breakdown

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