Many of us look at a piece of written work and view it as a series of paragraphs. We do that because we consider the paragraph to be the basic unit of a piece of writing. While it’s true that paragraphs are the building blocks of longer pieces, the sentence is actually the basic unit of writing. It’s the sentence that takes us to the paragraph and beyond. As a result, the first step in strong writing is the ability to write a well-constructed sentence.
Our Spiral Curriculum
Our KidWrite! writing curriculum starts with the sentence and moves on through more intricate pieces of written work. For kids just starting out with writing, our Spiral Curriculum, Core Materials, and the KW Word Work program make it possible for you to help them master each essential skill as they move from basic to more complex pieces of writing.
When kids come to us for tutoring because they are struggling to write a paragraph, essay, or report, we review the skills necessary for success at that point. We find this approach works well because it ensures each kid has mastered the essential skills, resulting in a firm base in writing. We also use Lexile Levels to be sure we meet them where they are.
Whether your kid comes to us because they are “stuck” or you use our materials when they are just starting out, they will master the skills necessary to be confident writers.
A Kid’s Eye View
Here’s a look at what goes into writing a paragraph to help you see it through your kid’s eyes.
The sentence. Kids must understand that a sentence expresses a complete thought and needs a subject (who or what) and a predicate (what’s happening). To write one, a kid must recognize a complete thought, a subject, a noun, a predicate, a verb, and the proper punctuation.
The paragraph. Some schools call paragraphs hamburgers. Some call them BCRs or Brief Constructed Responses. Whatever you call it, a basic paragraph has an Opening Sentence that sets the topic for the required details, three detail sentences that support the Opening Sentence, and a Closing Sentence to wrap it up and “shake hands” with the Opening Sentence. Each of these components has skills that are needed in order for the paragraph to be effective. To write a paragraph, a kid must understand how to write a strong opening sentence, what we mean by a supporting detail, and how it is that a sentence can “shake hands.” Oh. And how to get from a prompt to the opening sentence so that the paragraph they write fits the assignment.
By supporting kids along a clear path of skills required to create a strong piece of writing, we build their confidence along with their skill set.