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Igniting your writing ii course

Igniting your writing ii course For example, if the exercise

Igniting Your Writing II, Intermediate/Advanced

Publisher: Merritt Park Press

Authors: Sandy Larsen

Price: Spiral-bound Paperback: $19.99

Available at:
Merritt Park Press
910 N. Elm Street, Greenville IL 62246
Phone: 888.372.8847
Email: dslarsen@merrittpark.com

Igniting Your Writing II is the perfect follow-on to Igniting Your Writing (see related review), or it can stand alone as a series of exercises for the intermediate or advanced writer. Though I have students working in this book, I must confess I’ve done a few of the exercises myself, and plan to bring the book to my writers’ group meeting for my contribution to the “educational” portion of the meeting. Yes, this is a book useful for academic as well as personal writing.

Igniting Your Writing II focuses on three skills: focus, progression, and clarity; and three purposes for writing: writing to entertain, inform, and persuade. There are eight lessons for each skill and purpose, four at the intermediate level and four at the advanced level, giving twenty-four lessons in all. No advance preparation is needed on the part of teacher or student. Some writing assignments draw on earlier assignments, but the book is clear in directing the students to the earlier assignment. For example, if the exercise is editing a piece written earlier, the book sends the student to the lesson where the work to be edited was created, just to make sure (in a manner of speaking) that student and author are starting on the same page. (Sorry. We pun a lot around here.)

For “Focus,” the intermediate and advanced student learn to hone in on the most important point, using a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine for a writing tool.

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Your student might even mail the letter at the conclusion of the exercise, though this is not required. For “Progression,” intermediate students learn to create and work from an outline, while advanced students learn how to write a paragraph that packs a punch.

It was in the lessons on outlining that I discovered the author and I are kindred spirits. She confessed that in essay-writing in school, she always wrote the paper first and the outline from the paper! Yes, I admit it, so did I. However, it appears she has an excellent grasp on the function and form of an outline, and has a way of passing on the information in a way relevant to young writers. French fries! Who ever thought you could write an outline using French fries! (Well, actually she used a word processor, I’m sure, and the outline was about French fries, just in case you took me as literally as our youngest does sometimes.)

For the skill of “Clarity,” the intermediate student explores describing the various senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling), while the advanced student explores ambivalence, word order (and related shades of meaning and emphasis), and proper use of pronouns.

I found the lessons on purposes of writing both educational and informative.

“Writing to Entertain” explores, in part, the uses of humor, doing the unexpected, and of looking at familiar things in a new light. “Writing to Inform” teaches intermediate writers how to write “how to” instructions, while the advanced students learn to use “information as persuasion,” include facts in fiction, write newspaper stories and write about historical figures in a way that makes them come to life for the reader.

Igniting your writing ii course but my children are already

Finally, in “Writing to Persuade,” the intermediate student clarifies personal convictions and learns to communicate these, deals with the audience’s presuppositions, and learns how to deal with opposition and answer objections. The advanced student, in this section, learns how to use evidence, how to contradict opposing arguments (but my children are already quite practiced in this technique), to use emotion to influence a reader (we’ve been learning about this in studying advertising), and explores fairness in writing with an excellent discussion of ethics.

The author is economical, sometimes building on writing skills and revisiting intermediate assignments in the advanced lessons. An advanced student might be required, thus, to complete one of the intermediate assignments as a pre-requisite to a lesson. Many of the lessons, however, are independent of each other. A student could benefit greatly by going through the book and doing all the Intermediate exercises, and then all of the Advanced work.

This is no dull academic textbook. The writing is lively, from the examples presented to the assignments. Each lesson contains two principles the student can apply to writing, and solid, practical advice along with food for thought and step-by-step instructions.

The book is non-consumable and can be used by more than one student. Students write their assignments on scratch-paper, a subtle way of heading off writer’s block, or that anxiety that it has to be “perfect” the first time. Writing will be edited, and re-edited, re-shaped and re-formed, rather like clay in the potter’s hands. The schedule is flexible, and the lessons ungraded, based on writing ability, making this a versatile tool.

The book includes a teacher’s guide. For each lesson, there is an “aim” or objective, additional material to clarify or expand on the lesson, and suggestions for how to evaluate the student’s writing.

Igniting Your Writing and Igniting Your Writing II form the bulk of our writing curriculum for our older writers, this year, though the younger ones are often to be seen looking up from their copywork with a wistful expression as an older sibling reads something aloud and laughs. I’ve even heard a young one say she can’t wait to get into the book. Now that’s music to my ears!

Review by: Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones hails from a small town in the Midwest, where “Nothing ever happens, thankfully!” Her family’s interests include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, swimming, and, when they can manage to sit still, reading.

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