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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Please STOP teaching students to restate the prompt or ask questions about it!

Writing Tip of the Day: When teaching students to address the prompt, it is NOT a good idea to have them restate the prompt word for word or ask the reader a question about it....and this goes for the introduction AND conclusion. Here's why:
 I will explain my point with an analogy. Each essay is like a meal, and the reader is the "eater" of our words. Think of the beginning of the essay like an appetizer, and the ending like dessert. Many graders are "eating" anywhere between 100 to 300 "meals" per day, depending on the situation and length of each essay. Imagine having to eat salad for 200 meals in a would get pretty sick of it after awhile.....and I love cheesecake, but if you force me to eat it over and over, I am going to never want to see cheesecake again in my life!
 Now, I'm not saying that NONE of your students should restate the prompt. We have some kids who need a simple way to write essays because of their ability levels, but this should be the exception and not the rule. Try eating exactly the same thing for even three meals in a row! You won't like it....and neither will the reader who has to eat our words......sometimes the same ones....over....and over...and over. 
 In my materials and trainings, I model how to start and end essays in a variety of ways that will get and keep the attention of the reader.  
Bill MacDonald/The Write Prescription
Twitter: Bill MacDonald@writing_doctor
Teachers Pay Teachers/Facebook:  William Bill MacDonald/The Write Prescription

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