What’s New, December 2018

Proficiency in the Theme Writing Strategy: Narrative Writing

The parts of a plot can be tricky! Who ever heard of the protagonist, antagonist, and foils, plus the rising action, climax, and falling action? What makes a story interesting? How can a plot be built so that the reader is held in suspense until the very end of the story? Indeed, writing a really good story can be so difficult that students might give up before they start, especially since they might have to base their stories on research in history or science classes. Regardless of the class, students often have to write a story that grabs the reader’s attention until the hero succeeds in the end.

This instructional program builds on the Fundamentals in the Theme Writing Strategy instruction to help students do just that. Students first learn about the parts of story grammar and how to analyze the stories they read and the movies they watch. Then they learn how to plan and write basic fiction and nonfiction stories. Once the basics are under control, they learn how to vary the type of story they write, like personal stories, biographies, and journalistic stories. They also learn how to make digital or paper note cards and to use footnotes, in-text citations, and reference lists in stories that are based on their research. By using a Story-Planning Diagram in each case, they organize their information in a way that helps them write about it. Through the use of sophisticated transitions, they ensure that their story flows throughout. The end product is either a short or long story that meets the required criteria for high school and college courses. Teachers can access additional handouts and other materials through a digital link that accompanies the program. Teachers provide the instruction, and they score student practice attempts and provide important feedback to ensure students reach mastery.

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