Level 5 to 6+ Writing Booster Programme

Text structure and organisation
Planning an argument
Connectives as signposts
Opening an argument

Composition and Effect
Levels of formality
Persuasive devices

Sentence structure and punctuation
Complex sentences – non-finite
Complex sentences - adverbials

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Writing: Text Structure & Organisation (TSO) – writing
to argue

Task One
Understand how to plan an argument and secure this skill through practice
1 = strongly agree and 10 = strongly disagree.
The statement to consider is: Capital punishment should be reintroduced in
the UK.
 Explain your reasoning for either agreeing or disagreeing with this
Counter-argument is a chance to have the last word in each paragraph /
section of an argument.

Complete the planning grid on the next
page with no more than 12 words per box.
You need to think of a counter-argument
for each argument given.

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For Capital Punishment
People who take a life should give

Prisons are over-crowded

Tax payers should not have to pay
to keep worthless people alive

The families of victims deserve

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Against Capital

Task Two
Clearly signpost an argument for the reader by using a range of connectives
Understand how to write a coherent and convincing paragraph of argument
 Categorise the connectives given as cards (see the next page) and
prepare to explain one or two categories to the rest of the class. (eg.
‘all of these words are linked with time’)
 Certain connectives are vital when writing to argue. In particular, a
connective is needed to show the reader that the argument is about to
attacked through the counter-argument.
 Think of as many connectives that could be used instead of ‘However’
(For L6+, a range of connectives is key) Word-bank these.
 Write three paragraphs of argument using connectives between each
paragraph. The argument can be anything you like (e.g. School pupils
should be allowed to bring mobile phones into school).

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(Connective Cards for Categorising)
For example




As a result

In contrast


For instance

On the other hand





To begin with

At the outset






On the contrary

In spite of this

In other words




What is more

In addition



Of course


Strangely enough

Oddly enough






In conclusion

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How to Structure an Argument
within a Paragraph






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Don’t Talk to Me Now
How many different things can you do at once? One
American president supposedly couldn’t walk and
chew gum at the same time, but we all have our
limits. Psychologists agree that the brain is not
incapable of doing two things at once, but you won’t
do them as well together as you would separately.
So why do people think it’s safe to conduct a
telephone conversation while driving a car? Great
play has been made of the idea that ‘hands free’
phones allow drivers to safely use a mobile phone.
This argument is brainless because it ignores the
fact that it is not just your hands that are involved in
these activities – you use your brain as well. What
is needed is a ‘brain-free’ phone – though to judge
from some of the inanities I have overheard, this
may not be entirely unrealistic.
Another ‘point’ frequently made by phoning fanatics
is that it can be no more distracting to drivers than
listening to the radio or talking to a passenger.
However, listening to the radio doesn’t require me to
talk when I need to attend to a road hazard. And
most car passengers will keep quiet when they see
the driver needs to concentrate. The caller on the
other end of the phone might, however, make
demands of the driver at the critical moment….

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Develop a range of opening strategies for an argument text
 Imagine you are planning an argumentative letter to the school
governors, claiming that school uniform should be abolished, and
pupils should be allowed to wear their own clothes.
 Leaving aside the detail of the argument, come up with two of three
strategies they could use in the opening paragraph to ensure that their
argument is read by the chair, and taken seriously.
 Look at Don’t to talk me now (above this page)and annotate the
strategies used by the writer of the argument to engage the reader. (eg
reference to psychologists make the writer sound like an authority,
subject deliberately withheld to intrigue, humour disarms, direct
address to the reader etc).
Here are three key ingredients to an effective opening to an argument:
1. Make it clear what you think from the start, without giving the reasons
2. Establish your credibility. (an expert, somebody with real experience
3. Get the reader on your side. (direct address, subtle flattery, politeness
 Individually, compose an opening to the letter to the Chair of
Governors, saying why you think school uniform should be abolished.

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Writing: Composition and effect (CE)

Task One
To manage levels of formality according to audience
 Note all of the texts they have written this week – eg text messages,
note to mum, history essay.
 Look at the notion of a formality continuum: 1 = highly informal, 6 =
highly formal. Position the texts they have produced this week on the
 Decide on the level of formality needed in the texts below, using the six
point scale:
A letter to an older relative, e.g. uncle
A letter to the local newspaper
A review of a PS2 game in a games magazine
A local newspaper article about a school incident
A leaflet offering advice on post 16 options
A speech at a public meeting
 Look at the longer writing task (below) and say on the 1 to 6 scale, how
formal this text should be, and why.
 Rewrite the first two paragraphs of this extract, but use the correct level
of formality and appropriate language.

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Sample Longer Writing Task

Music festival for all the family
You are employed by the local council to organise a music festival
which takes place every year.
You receive this note from the council:

Family festival
These were the comments we received after last year’s festival:
‘I live nearby and the traffic, noise and litter were terrible.’
‘The music was good but there weren’t enough facilities like food
‘There needs to be a wider range of attractions for teenagers and
Please provide an explanation of why things went wrong last year,
including how you plan to overcome these problems and any
other ideas you have to improve this year’s event.

Write a detailed explanation for the local council of why things
went wrong last year and plans for this year.

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Sample Response
Last year’s festival was awesome but there are a few things we
can do to make it even better this year so that there are no moans
from locals.

Firstly, there were complaints about noise, litter and traffic. The
lack of parking was a problem. Although parking was planned, we
didn’t expect so much traffic so there weren’t enough spaces and
quite a few roads were blocked. This ended up causing problems
for the emergency services when a woman was taken ill. To
prevent this happening again, we’ve organised a ‘park and ride’
service and we’re recommending a new route to the festival in
case we get even more visitors this year.

You’re never going to get rid of noise and litter at a festival, but we
can improve things a bit. Last year, there weren’t enough litter
bins, especially near the food areas, and they weren’t emptied
often enough. This year, we’ll site more bins, employ people to
empty them regularly and make sure the site is properly cleaned
after the event. We’ll also put the stage further back so that there’s

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not so much noise for locals. If the roads are quieter with the park
and ride, this should also lessen noise.

The lack of facilities such as food stalls is one we’re looked at
closely. It has to be said, there weren’t enough caterers last year.
Many people complained that food was limited to burgers, fizzy
drinks etc. This year, we’ve improved things no end by organising
some local cafes and restaurants to come in providing much more

Finally, there are more attractions for teenagers planned this year.
We’ve got face-painting, puppets, clowning to name a few. Another
new facility is a crèche where tired parents can leave their kids to
play safely. Teenagers will also get more out of the festival this
year – we’ve got some great bands lined up, as well as workshops
where people can try out unusual instruments etc.

I hope this reassures you that everything has been put in place,
that the problems have been sorted and that we can look forward
to a great success next year.

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Task Two
To identify and make effective use of a range of persuasive devices.
Brainstorm all of the persuasive devices you are able to recall.
 Read the anti-Iraq-war article (below).
 Complete the ‘revise the persuasive toolkit’ template by quoting an
example of each device in the relevant cell.
Look back to the paragraph of argument you wrote to the Chair of governors
about school uniform. Strengthen this by using at least two persuasive
devises within the counter-argument.

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‘Does Tony have any idea what the flies are like that feed
off the dead?’
On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the
corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip
off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us,
dead fingers trailing through the sand.

That of course was in 1991. The ‘highway of death’ they called
it. Today, when I listen to the threats of George Bush against
Iraq and the shrill moralistic warnings of Tony Blair, I wonder
what they know of this terrible reality. Does George, who
declined to serve his country in Vietnam, have any idea what
these corpses smell like? Does Tony have the slightest
conception of what the flies are like, the big bluebottles that
feed on the dead of the Middle East, and then come to settle on
our faces and notepads?
Soldiers know. I remember one British officer asking to use the
BBC’s satellite phone just after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.
He was talking to his family in England and I watched him
carefully. ‘I have seen some terrible things,’ he said. And then
he broke down, weeping and shaking and holding the phone
dangling in his hand over the transmission set. Did his family
have the slightest idea what he was talking about? They would
not have understood by watching television.
Thus can we face the prospect of war. Our glorious, patriotic
population – albeit only about 20% in support of this particular
Iraqi folly – has been protected from the realities of violent
I remember once a man in Iran, a piece of steel in his forehead,
howling like an animal – which is, of course, what we all are –
before he died; and the Palestinian boy who simply collapsed in
front of me when an Israeli soldier shot him dead, coldly,
murderously, for throwing a stone; and the Israeli with a chair

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leg sticking out of her stomach outside the Sbarro pizzeria in
Jerusalem after a Palestinian bomber had decided to execute
the families inside; and the heaps of Iraqi dead at the Battle of
Dezful in the Iran-Iraq war – the stench of their bodies wafted
through our helicopter until the mullahs aboard were sickened;
and the young man showing me the thick black trail of his
daughter’s blood outside Algiers where armed ‘Islamists’ had
cut her throat.
But George Bush and Tony Blair and Dick Cheney and Jack
Straw and all the other little warriors who are bamboozling us
into war will not have to think of these vile images. For them it’s
about surgical strikes, collateral damage and all the other
examples of war’s linguistic mendacity. We are going to have a
just war, we are going to liberate the people or Iraq – some of
whom we will obviously kill – and we are going to give them
democracy and protect their oil wealth and stage war crimes
trials and we are going to be ever so moral and we are going to
watch our defence ‘experts’ on TV with their bloodless sandpits
and their awesome knowledge of weapons which rip off heads.
Come to think of it, I recall the head of an Albanian refugee,
chopped neatly off when the Americans, ever so accidentally,
bombed a refugee convoy in Kosovo in 1999 which they
thought was a Serb military unit. His head lay in the long grass,
bearded, eyes open, severed as if by a Tudor executioner.
Months later I learned his name and talked to the girl who was
hit by the severed head during the US air strike and who laid
the head reverently in the grass where I found it. Nato, of
course, did not apologise to the family. Nor to the girl. No one
says sorry after war. No one acknowledges the truth of it. No
one shows you what we see. Which is how our leaders and our
betters persuade us – still – to go to war.

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Revising the Persuasive Toolkit
Persuasive Device
1. Rhetorical Questions
2. Emotive Language
3. Sound Patterns
4. Figurative language
5. The ‘rule of three’
6. Repetition
7. Hyperbole
8. Short, emphatic
9. Contrast

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Writing: Sentence structure and punctuation (SSP)

Task One
Improve writing style by using non-finite subordinate clauses to add detail,
interest and variety.
 Look at the ‘Building Complex sentences’ table below. Use an
appropriate non-finite verb from the box to create sentences that make
 This type of complex sentence is particularly useful when writing to
describe because of the way it enables details to be included.
 Write a single paragraph description of the view outside the classroom
window, using at least three non-finite complex sentences. E.g.
‘Forming a bleak backdrop, the distant chimneys belch out grey

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Building Complex Sentences 1
Use a non-finite verb to join a subordinate clause to
these sentences.
1. …………………. , Pat ran down the grassy hill.
2. Sam,………………………. , slowly licked her
ice cream.
3. …………………….. , Rob pulled the fish to the
4. Jeremy, ……………., made a great fuss about
5. …………………… , Barbara knelt next to the
6. Derek, …………… , carefully sipped his drink.
7. ………………………. , the wolves attacked.
8. Uncle Chris, ……………, rolled up his trousers.
9. ……………….. , Betty peered through the
10. P.C. Gerald, ………………. , continued on his

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walking running

Task Two
Use complex sentences to increase the precision and style of formal writing
 Complete the Building Complex Sentences 2 exercise by creating
complex sentences with a subordinate clause. Make sure the
sentences make sense.
 This type of complex sentence, where the subordinate clause is an
adverbial, can lend a sense of authority and precision to formal writing.
 You are going to produce a letter of complaint – the content is provided
so that the focus can be on sentence construction. Each paragraph
must contain a complex sentence. Each paragraph must also end with
a simple sentence. Here is an example of the start:

Despite making numerous phone calls to your help desk, I am still
unable to connect to the internet. Given that I have paid a month’s
subscription already, this is deeply frustrating. My direct debit is
now cancelled.
 A final simple sentence can make for a sharp, clear close to a
paragraph – and that the complex sentences add authority and clarity
to the writing.
 Use the letter of complaint outline and concentrating on sentence
construction, write the letter of complaint.

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Building Complex Sentences 2
1. Although…….., Mrs Taylor ………..
2. After…….., the cat
3. Although……., my best friend……..
4. Despite…….., the dolphin……..
5. Whenever…….., I ……….
6. Wherever………, they………….

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Letter of Complaint Outline
It is with intense frustration that I write to outline the series of
problems that I have had with the vehicle that I bought from you, in
good faith, last month. I expect no less than a full refund.
Paragraph One – states what the salesperson told you about the
Paragraph Two – outlines the series of problems you have had.
Paragraph Three - describes the reaction of members of your
Paragraph Four – explains the action you will take if there is no
Yours sincerely

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