Saturday, February 17, 2007

English Update February 17, 2007

Teachers of reading should themselves read. If they do, they will influence their students to share in the joy of reading. They need to be models of what they want their students to be as readers. AJ Applegate & MK Applegate. RT (Mar. 04), 554-563.

The reading habit. Author asked 150 students in grades 9-12 the last book they read cover to cover without its being an assignment. Only 17 could remember and most of them remembered books from elementary school days. M Wolfthal. EJ (Sept. 02), 13.

How to organize writing. Introduce it, lay it out, sum it up. William Safire in Safire and Safir. Good Advice on Writing, 1992, p. 238.

EB White on organizing writing: “I like to get to the point without too much horsing around.” EJ (Jun. 76), 23-25.

Organizing writing. “The basic structure of an article: you must catch the reader’s interest in the introduction; in the next section identify your topic; in the body of the piece, present your material; and close by drawing a conclusion or repeating a key point.” R Berman. The Writer’s Handbook, 2001, 306-311.

Paragraphing: The purpose of the first sentence. . “The first sentence of a paragraph may look backward to the preceding paragraph, but its most important function is to point forward—to begin a kind of mental ‘action,’ to generate in the reader some expectations about what is to follow, and thereby to establish a point of reference that will guide the interpretation of succeeding sentences.” RL Larson, CCC (Feb. 67), 21.

Paragraphs: How long should they be? “No one can say how long a paragraph should be; subject, purpose, audience, editorial fashion and individual preference all affect the length and complexity of paragraphs; numerous brief paragraphs are likely to be disjointed and underdeveloped; great long ones fatigue readers; an occasional short paragraph of 15 to 20 words may work very well; so may an occasional long one of 300. TS Kane in Safire and Safir, Good Advice on Writing, 1992, 169.

Writing in the workplace. Devote an entire unit to using models of different kinds of genre that might be used on the job. Bring in people who have to use those genres, lawyer’s briefs, etc.

Stories...are woven through my arguments, persuasion and analysis. Stories help me to make abstractions clear, help me explain what I mean, provide...specificity to concepts. Wrt. Qtd. By KR Morgan (Nov. 02), 111.

Modeling writing. Teachers first have to think of themselves as writers—reflect on their own writing processes—before they can teach writing by modeling their processes. CR Frank. LA (Mar. 03), 185-195.

Writing assignment. Students use the New Yorker types of writing as models—”Talk of the Town,” “Profiles,” “Reviews,” “Letter from….” PL Martin. CN+ (Oct. 02), 8-9.

Checking your organization. Put your topic sentences individually on separate index cards. Mix them up. Partner tries to put them in order. Check if the partner’s order is your order. J Gritter. I+ #20. (2002), 11-12.

Pre-writing. Parnes and Osborn found that in idea production, quantity leads to quality. D Young. EE (May 66), 512.

RT = Reading Teacher. CCC = College Composition and Communication. LA = Lanaguage Arts. I+ Ideas Plus. EJ = English Journal. Wrt = The Writer.
CN+ = Classroom Notes Plus. EE = Elementary English.

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