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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 Level 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 Level 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 Aggression
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.