Scope and Sequence

Writing Strands provides high quality writing materials for elementary through high school students. The books use a step-by-step, structured format to help students master composition techniques, a process which prepares them for college-level writing.

Throughout its nine levels, the series organizes writing into four strands: creative, argumentative, report and research, and expository writing. Success with the four strands of writing is contingent on how well students understand the following foundational skills, which are taught in the lower levels of Writing Strands: creative, basic, organizational, and descriptive writing. Once the students have mastered these fundamental skills, they are ready to apply them to the abstract subject matter of the upper-level books. The books also allow students to learn the mechanics of writing: syntax, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

This scope and sequence provides details on each of the Writing Strands workbooks and companion books. For each of the workbooks, we have included a table that lists the book's exercises and the skills on which each exercise focuses.

Writing Strands 1

This book is for parents of pre-writers aged 3-8. It teaches parents how to encourage a love of language and an understanding of storytelling through play. Writing Strands 1 comes with a CD which adds more information and demonstrates techniques. Writing Strands 1 includes the following activities:

1. Making Up Words
2. Recognizing Sounds
3. Being Sounds and Letters
4. Creating Creatures
5. Rhyming
6. Finishing Sentences and Stories
7. Expanding Sentences
8. Drawing to Describe
9. Describing
10. Finishing Stories
11. Beginnings
12. Recording Conversations
13. Discussing Stories
14. What Animals are Like
15. New Endings
16. Creative Games

Writing Strands 2

This book is for students who can write simple sentences on their own, generally around 7 years old. Assignments are directed to the parent, who works through the book with the child. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on foundational skills such as organization, description, and paragraphing. Writing Strands 2 includes the following exercises:

1. What Is It? Using adjectives to construct sentences that give a reader more than one piece of information
2. What We Did Organizing personal actions and describing them in a logical sequence
3. Like a Reporter Presenting actions of others in a logical sequence
4. Good Deed Report Paragraphing in a report about a witnessed event
5. My Day Ordering actions and recording emotional reactions
6. Groups Grouping ideas or items and creating variety in sentence structure
7. Smart Bird Using character, problem and solution to write a story
8. Sell It Convincing others by creating an advertisement
9. Interview Writing conversations using dialogue structure and punctuation
10. Dear Family Member Organizing and formatting a friendly letter
11. I Helped Organizing and telling about a personal experience, including reactions to it
12. What's It Like? Describing objects by observing and defining differences
13. "Hi There" Combining words and pictures in greeting cards to convey ideas
14. Animals Writing descriptions based on role playing, an introduction to empathy
15. Summer Writing about an imaginary vacation

Writing Strands 3

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 2 or new students who are 8-12 years old. Also, any older students who struggle with fundamental skills, such as structuring paragraphs, should review Writing Strands 3. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on foundational skills such as organization, description, and paragraphing. Writing Strands 3 includes the following exercises:

1. Following Directions Learning to follow carefully written directions while expanding sentences
2. Controlling Sentences and Paragraphs Controlling sentences and structuring paragraphs
3. Writing and Rewriting a Sentence Constructing and connecting complicated sentences to produce a story
4. My Friend Organizing a description and accepting help
5. What the Story Teller Tells the Reader Creating characters' thoughts
6. "What Did You Do Today?" Organizing and describing experiences
7. Furniture Organizing information in a description
8. Out the Window Organizing a description to establish a character’s location
9. Very Short Story Constructing a story
10. My Room Organizing the description of places
11. How People Move When They Talk Punctuating dialogue and adding actions to a conversation
12. Story Events Recognizing a story’s structure as a series of events
13. Tell a Story Maintaining point of view while organizing the telling of an event
14. Liking the Character Creating characters that readers will like

Writing Strands 4

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 3 or new students who are 13-14 years old. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on foundational skills such as organization, description, and paragraphing. Writing Strands 4 includes the following exercises:

1. How a Sentence Does It Organizing ideas and information into sentences
2. Connections Connecting sentences through context
3. The Main Points Recognizing and listing the main parts of story structure
4. I Feel Recognizing and describing emotional reactions
5. My Mistake Analyzing actions and anticipating results
6. What Narrative Voice Tells the Reader Learning about the types of narrative voice and choosing one to use
7. Changing Tenses Controlling tense in narration
8. Paragraphs Organizing information in paragraphs and writing topic sentences
9. My Home #1 Translating visual impressions into a graphic representation that shows size relationships
10. My Home #2 Turning a graphic representation into a verbal description
11. My Home #3 Evaluating one’s own work and rewriting
12. Describing a Thought Problem Using imagination to understand and predict typical reactions to situations
13. Person Learning the different points of view: first, second, and third person
14. Past, Present, and Future Learning the appropriate use of tense
15. Things Change Organizing observations in description
16. From Where I Was Learning how character position determines what characters can know
17. Attitude in Description Learning how the attitudes of narrative voices affect a reader’s reactions
18. The Long and Short of It Controlling sentence length to help readers understand material

Writing Strands 5

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 4 or new students who are 15-16 years old. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on skills such as organization, narration, and argumentation. Writing Strands 5 includes the following exercises:

1. Narrative Voice Attitude Identifying and creating attitudes in narrative voice
2. Interesting Sentences Adding detail to sentences and varying sentence structure
3. Arguments that Win Recognizing the points of an argument and writing a successful argument
4. Omniscient and Limited Knowledge Learning the degrees of knowledge of a narrative voice
5. Write for Action Writing in the active voice
6. Narrative Voice Position Controlling and placing a narrative voice in a recognized position
7. Where to Start Organizing a description
8. Dialogue Punctuating dialogue and creating speech patterns for characters
9. An Author Makes the Reader Feel Controlling a reader’s feelings
10. Out of Time Controlling tense in dialogue while following story line
11. My Thumb Organizing a description by seeing objects as groups of parts
12. Flashback Learning about and using flashbacks
13. New House Using description to control what a reader understands
14. The Balloon Creating characters with emotions
15. Writing Letters Writing business letters

Writing Strands 6

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 6 or new students who are 17 years old. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on advanced skills such as recognizing and using persuasive language, writing reports, and developing character and conflict in creative pieces. Writing Strands 6 includes the following exercises:

1. Body Control Creating character traits that readers can recognize
2. If I Were a... Considering different experiences and organizing a report to help readers understand information
3. Conflict Learning about and creating conflict in fiction
4. Point of View Learning the point of view options and explaining them in exposition
5. Survey Writing and taking surveys
6. Report Learning the importance of forces in conflict by describing how they are created
7. Disorder Writing reports based on personal observations
8. Interview with a Character Writing and conducting an interview
9. Who Me? Recognizing and creating both stock and fully developed characters
10. Choices of Action Showing readers how a character makes a decision
11. Problems Creating believable character actions in an argument
12. Writing Letters Phrasing and formatting business letters

Writing Strands 7

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 6 or new students who are 18 years old. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete and focuses on advanced skills such as researching and writing reports, arguing effectively, and developing character and conflict in creative pieces. Writing Strands 7 includes the following exercises:

1. What our Feet Do Writing about how people move
2. If I Were a... Considering different experiences and organizing a report to help readers understand information
3. Describing Characters Selecting descriptive information for a purpose
4. Conflict Resolving character conflicts
5. Point of View Explaining point of view
6. What It Is Controlling a reader’s reactions to setting
7. Survey Writing, conducting, and reporting on surveys
8. Argument Writing an effective argument
9. Book Report Writing book reports on character development
10. Behavior Writing formal scientific reports
11. Interview with a Character Conducting and transcribing interviews
12. Problems Creating characters who solve problems
13. Interactions Creating characters who react emotionally
14. He Did It First Learning about taking responsibility by creating realistic characters in conflict

Writing Exposition

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 7. Ideal for college-bound students, Writing Exposition teaches advanced methods of composition through challenging, non-fiction assignments. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete. Writing Exposition includes the following exercises:

1. Library Manual Writing operation manuals
2. Fair Explaining how decisions are guided by abstractions
3. Book Covers Convincing readers that contradictions are valid
4. Cultural Stability Explaining how cultural influences operate
5. Role Models Convincing readers that positions are programmed
6. Compare and Contrast Writing comparison essays
7. The Use of I Using personal research in an explanatory essay
8. Reaction Paper Writing reactions to articles
9. Biasing Recognizing biased surveys and articles by writing them
10. Propaganda Recognizing propaganda by reading, creating, and writing about it
11. Term Paper Using primary research in term papers
12. Magazine Evaluation Writing an explanatory essay based on personal research

Creating Fiction

This book is for students who have finished Writing Strands 7. Ideal for students interested in advanced work in creative writing, Creating Fiction teaches advanced methods of developing short stories and other creative works. Assignments are directed to the student. The book takes one full school year to complete. Creating Fiction includes the following exercises:

1. Establishing Location for Narrative Voice
2. Further Work in Establishing Narrative Voice Position
3. Reader Identification with Character
4. Point of View
5. Truth in the Narrative Voice
6. Using Senses
7. Creating Dramatic Dialogue
8. Predicting Reader Reactions
9. Using Symbols
10. Identification and Symbolism in Flashback
11. Creating Mood
12. Satire
13. Learning Control of Tense Use
14. Speaking Patterns
15. Information Given in Description
16. Controlling Structure
17. Creating Characters

Communication and Interpersonal Relationships

Communication and Interpersonal Relationships is a companion book to the Writing Strands curriculum. It equips students with verbal communication and life skills that will prepare them for the adult world.

Using the same structured, incremental instructions as Writing Strands, these assignments focus on often-neglected skills, including lessons such as

  • how to disagree without being disagreeable
  • how to talk to someone you've just met
  • how to not be boring in a conversation

These skills will truly improve students’ personal and professional lives immediately and in years to come. Communication and Interpersonal Relationships is meant to be used on an as-needed basis and includes the following exercises:

1. Eye Contact
2. Verbal Reinforcement
3. Physical Reinforcement
4. Meeting People
5. Classroom Techniques
6. Interviewing
7. How Not to Be a Bore
8. I Can Top That
9. Understanding Other People's Points of View
10. You Become What You Pretend to Be
11. How to Disagree
12. How to Reduce Aggressions
13. Speaking with Body Language
14. The Only Speech You're Likely to Have to Give

Evaluating Writing

Evaluating Writing is a companion book to the Writing Strands curriculum. The book teaches parents how to provide supportive and effective feedback on writing assignments. It includes information on common conditions that make teaching composition difficult and on common writing problems, examples of feedback on real assignments, explanations of drafting, and spelling rules. This information is essential to parents working with the Writing Strands series, but anyone responsible for providing feedback on written works would benefit from this book as well.

Reading Strands

Reading Strands is a companion book to the Writing Strands curriculum. Designed as a reference book for parents on teaching literature, Reading Strands teaches how to analyze the four main elements of fiction:

  • setting
  • characters
  • conflict
  • resolution

By studying these parts of a story, students can learn how to think critically about any book they will ever read.

Reading Strands shows parents how to use the Socratic method to teach these elements of fiction; parents ask questions that allow the students to come to conclusions on their own about how an author creates each of the elements. Instead of memorizing information, students learn to analyze and understand literature through conversation. The book provides several examples of these conversations to help parents learn what types of questions to ask.

In the back of Reading Strands is a list of recommended books, organized by grade level. These books are available at most libraries.