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A Model for Teaching

Writing to
Struggling Writers
Anita L. Archer, Ph.D.
These examples are based on the program REWARDS Writing currently in development.
Example # Rubric for Descriptive Paragraph
No Yes
Not Evident ery evident
! " # $
!ix"up #one
Descripti%e Paragraph
&ritical Attri'ute (ou Teacher
1. The first sentence tells $hat is being
! " # $ ! " # $
%. &ll the other sentences tell more about $hat is
being described
! " # $ ! " # $
'. The length is ade(uate. ! " # $ ! " # $
). *omplete sentences are used. ! " # $ ! " # $
+. The sentences begin $ith different $ords. ! " # $ ! " # $
,. The sentences vary in length. ! " # $ ! " # $
)Word choice,
-. Descriptive $ords are used. ! " # $ ! " # $
.. /verused $ords 0e.g.1 nice1 big1 little2 have
been replaced $ith more precise or interesting
! " # $ ! " # $
3. The description paints a clear and accurate
picture of $hat is being described.
! " # $ ! " # $
14. The description is easy for the reader to
! " # $ ! " # $
Example # continued Descriptive Paragraph
-t .as dus/ .hen .e entered the tin0
grocer0 store on the edge of the deserted
road. The store .as lit '0 a single 'ul'
hanging near the entrance. The aisles in
the store .ere narro. onl0 one
shopper at a time. Ancient .ooden
shel%es lining the aisles .ere cluttered
.ith dust1co%ered cans and 'oxes.
(ello.ed la'els on the cans held the
secret of the store.
Example #" 5riting !rame for Emerging 5riters
6y favorite city is 777777777777777.
This city is located in the state of 77777777.
8 li9e this city because 7777777777777777
/ne of my favorite things to do in this city is
&nother activity that 8 en:oy in 7777777777
is 7777777777777777777777777777777777
Example ## 5riting !rame to &ccommodate Emerging 5riters
7777777777777777777 is a very fascinating state. 8t is found
in the 77777777777777777777777 part of the <nited ;tates. 8t is
bordered by the follo$ing states= 77777777777777771
777777777777777777771 7777777777777777777771 and
777777777777777777777777777 has a variety of land and
$ater forms. 8n terms of landforms1 this state has 77777777777771
7777777777777777771 777777777777777771 and 7777777777777.
The most dominant landform is its 7777777777777777777777777.
The largest la9e in 777777777777777777777 is 77777777777777.
7777777777777777777777 also has a number of rivers including
77777777777777777777771 777777777777777777771 and
777777777777777777777777777 has a diverse economic
base. /ne aspect of its economy is agriculture. ;ome of the crops
gro$n in 7777777777777777 include 77777777777777777777771
777777777777777777777777771 and 7777777777777777777777.
8ts most important crop is 7777777777777777777777777777777.
&nother aspect of this state>s economy is manufacturing.
The follo$ing products are produced in 777777777777777777777=
7777777777777777777777771 77777777777777777777777777771
and 7777777777777777777777777777. 77777777777777777777
is the product most often associated $ith this state. 8f you visited
this state and purchased either an agricultural or manufacturing
product1 you $ould probably buy 77777777777777777777777777.
There are many recreational opportunities in 777777777777.
!irst1 there are a number of large state and federal par9s. 6y
favorite par9 is 777777777777777777777777777. This par9
$ould be a great place to visit because 777777777777777777777
These are some of the recreational activities you might en:oy in
7777777777777= 777777777777771 777777777777777777771
777777777777777777771 and 7777777777777777777777777.
/f these1 8 $ould particularly en:oy 777777777777777777777.
/ne thing that this state is noted for is 77777777777777
This is note$orthy because 777777777777777777777777777
?o$ever1 8 thought the most interesting thing about this
state $as 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777.
Example #$ 5riting frame for a story"problem explanation in math

8n this problem1 $e $ere as9ed to figure out 7777777777777777
;ome information $as already given including 777777777777777
777777777777777777777 and 7777777777777777777777777777.
5hen creating a plan to solve this problem1 8 decided to follo$ a
number of steps. !irst1 8 777777777777777777777777777777777
Next1 8 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777
Then1 8 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777
!inally1 8 777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777.
&fter follo$ing these steps1 8 determined that ans$er to this
problem $as 777777777777777777777777777777777777777777.
To chec9 this ans$er 8 7777777777777777777777777777777777
@ased on my verification of the ans$er1 8 am (uite certain that it is
Example # 2 3 ;ummariAation " Narrative
7777777777777777777777777777 too9 place
inBat 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777.
The main character of this story $as 7777777777777777.
?isBher ma:or problem $as 777777777777777777777777
77777777777 tried to solve this problem by 77777777777
8n the end 777777777777777777777777777777777777777
Example 2 continued 3 ;ummariAation " Narrative
7777777777777777 title77777777777777777$as a narrative
selection about 777777777777777777theme
77777777777777. 8n this story1 77777777777name 777777771
7777777777777777777777777777777777771 $as the main
character. /ther critical characters included= 777name7771
and 77777name7777777771 7777777777777777777777777777777.
8n this story1 7777777name77777777777777777>s ma:or
problemBconflictBgoal $as 77777777777777777777777777777777
!irst1 777777name7777777777777777777 tried to resolve this
problemBconflictBgoal by 77777777777777777777777777777777
8n the end1 the follo$ing happened= 77777777777777777777777
Example # 6 Summarization Expository
Viruses have some characteristics of _________ things
and ________________ things. In some cases, viruses are
_________________, but they can live and _____________.
To live and reproduce, viruses must invade a ____________
and use it. Viruses are NOT _____________ but have
genetic ____________________. Different viruses need
different ______________. The ___________ coat helps
the virus detect the right kind of host cell. In ____________,
the virus attaches to the outside of a host cell. In _________,
the virus injects genetic information into the host cell. During
_____________ and ____________, the host cells enzymes
obey the viruss genetic instructions. During __________
new virus particles leave the _________________ in search of
new host cells.
Example # 7 - Writing Frame - Academic Language
(Compare and Contrast)
_______________ and __________________ are similar
in a number of ways. First, they both _____________________
Another critical similarity is ___________________________.
An equally important similarity is ________________________.
Finally, they ________________________________________.
The differences between ________________________
and _________________ are also obvious. The most important
difference is ________________________________________.
In addition, ___________ and _____________ are __________
In the final analysis, ____________ differs from _____________
in two other major ways: 1)______________________________
and 2) ____________________________________________.
Example #4 continued 0<sing strategy to $rite a paragraph summary. This is
ta9en from REWARDS PLUS2
;tep 1. L-ST 0Cist the details that are important enough to
include in your summary.2
;tep %. &5*SS1*6T 0Reread the details. *ross out any that you
decide not to include.2
;tep '. &*77E&T 0*onnect any details that could go into one
;tep ). 76M8E5 0Number the details in a logical order.2
;tep +. W5-TE 05rite the paragraph.2
;tep ,. ED-T 0Revise and proofread your ans$er.2

Example # 4 continued
Dree9 Theater
" began as a religious ceremony
" honored the Dree9 god Dionysus
" beliefs in Dionysus began to spread
% " choruses chanted lyrics
' " actors :oined the choruses
" the Dionysus festival in &thens became a
drama competition
" amphitheaters $ere built
" performed tragedies that taught lessons
" performed comedies that made fun of life
, "declined $hen play$rights died and the
government changed
Example #4 continued
The roots of modern theater can be
found in early Dree9 theater. Dree9 theater
began as a religious ceremony that honored
the Dree9 god Dionysus. &t first1 choruses
chanted lyrics. 5hen actors $ere added to
interact $ith the chorus1 theater $as born.
Cater1 the Dionysus festival in &thens
became a drama competition1 and
amphitheaters $ere built to accommodate
the event. @oth tragedies1 $hich taught
lessons1 and comedies1 $hich made fun of
life1 $ere performed. Dree9 theater declined
$hen the great play$rights died and the
government changed.
1. Did the author state the topic and the main
idea in the first sentenceE
Yes !ix up Yes No
%. Did the author focus on the important
Yes !ix up Yes No
'. Did the author combine details in some of
the sentencesE
Yes !ix up Yes No
). 8s the summary easy to understandE Yes !ix up Yes No
+. Did the author correctly spell $ords1
particularly the $ords found in the articleE
Yes !ix up Yes No
,. Did the author use correct capitaliAation1
capitaliAing the first $ord in the sentence
and proper names of people1 places1 and
Yes !ix up Yes No
-. Did the author use punctuation including a
period at the end of each sentenceE
Yes !ix up Yes No
Example #9
Compare/Contrast Think Sheet
SAME Groups
&ategories St. Bernard 7e.foundland
6se 5escue Rescue
Full grown males
Full grown males
Type of Fur
Smooth dense that
protects from cold
Smooth dense that
protects from cold
Weight 22 3 ;! pounds $! 3 2! pounds
Place of Origin S.iss Alps Newfoundland
&lients Climbers and skiers
People in Atlantic
Example #<continued
The Saint 8ernard and the 7e.foundland are the same in
se%eral .a0s. 8oth dogs are large rescue dogs. The full gro.n
males are a'out the same height. 8oth dogs ha%e smooth dense
fur that protects them from the cold .hile the0 are rescuing
Although the two dogs are similar, they also have
differences. The Saint Bernard is much heavier, weighing 155
to 170 pounds. The lighter Newfoundland weights 140 to 150
pounds. The dogs originated in different places, so the types of
rescues they perform are different. The Saint Bernard
originated in the Swiss Alps and rescues climbers and skiers
from the snow. The Newfoundland rescues people form the
Atlantic Ocean. Both dogs perform important services for
Stephanie Gray and Catharine Keech. Writing from Given Information:
Classroom Research Study No. 3. 1980. Bay Area Writing Project. Berkeley, CA:
University of California.
Example #< continued " *ompareB*ontrast Thin9 ;heet
Compare/Contrast Think Sheet
SAME Groups
Example #10 (Essay to Persuade)
Essay Rubric
Author Essa0 Topic
Student or
Partner 5ating
Teacher 5ating
1. Does the introduction tell the topic of the essayE
%. Does the introduction state the author>s position on the topicE
'. Does the introduction give t$o or more convincing reasons for the
). Does the introduction grab the reader>s attentionE
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
+. Does the body include at least three ma9or reasons that support
the author>s positionE
,. Does the author elaborate on and explain each of the ma:or
reasons using logical arguments1 evidence and examplesE
-. Did the author ac9no$ledge and respond to the opposing side>s
.. &re the paragraphs .ell1organi+ed and eas0 to understandE
3. &re transition .ords and phrases used to connect ideas $ithin
and bet$een paragraphsE
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
10. Does the conclusion summarize the authors position?
11. Does the essay have a definite conclusionE
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
11. Did the author correctl0 spell $ordsE
1%. Did the author use correct capitali+ationE
1'. Did the author use correct punctuation?
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
1). Did the essay hold the reader>s attention from beginning to endE
1+. 8s the essay clear and easy to understandE
1,. Did the author stay focused on the same position throughout the
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
(es 7o
Example #! continued 0Example " Essay to Persuade2
Prompt: In order to fight the rise of violence and use of drugs in schools, some faculties
have implemented random searches of bacpacs, boo bags, locers, and!or dess for
"eapons and drugs# Do $ou agree "ith these random searches or do $ou disagree%
Write a letter to the facult$ members at a school stating $our opinion and &ustification for
that opinion# 'egin the letter "ith these "ords( Dear )acult$ *embers#
Dear !aculty 6embers1
8 am $orried about the ne$ random search policies that have
been implemented at many schools in our area. 8 understand the
danger of illegal drugs and $eapons on campus1 but 8 am more
afraid of the conse(uences that these searches $ill cause. 8 9no$
these policies only come from a real concern for the safety and
(uality of our school campus1 but 8 thin9 that they $ill cause more
problems than solutions. Random searches threaten personal
privacy and erode a student>s trust in the faculty $ithout solving
the heart of the issue.
Random searches through a student>s boo9 bag1 loc9er1 or
des9 are a clear invasion of personal privacy. /ur des9s1 boo9
bags1 and loc9ers are essentially our home a$ay from home. Thus1
they contain very personal items that are part of our non"academic
life such as diaries1 notes from boy or girl friends1 pictures from
non"school events1 cosmetics1 and dental retainers. 5e had no
intent that anyone $ould ever see or touch these items1 but no$ a
teacher or security guard is holding it up for all to see. Do you
realiAe ho$ embarrassing this $ould be to a shy1 sensitive studentE
?o$ $ould you li9e the principal going through your des91 purse1
or carE
Not only do these searches overstep boundaries of a person>s
private space1 they brea9 do$n valuable trust bet$een students and
teachers1 the heart of that relationship. 8n order for a student to
learn1 they need to be comfortable $ith their teachers. 8f students
are al$ays $orried about $hether or not their teachers $ill loo9
through their boo9 bags or loc9ers1 they $ill be too anxious to
learn. ;chool faculty $ill become intimidating figures that
students don>t trust. Education is supposed to help students gro$
up1 not bring them do$n and ma9e them feel vulnerable. Random
searches $ould dramatically change the environment of a school
from academic to suspicious.
!inally1 searches $ill not solve the problem on a permanent
basis. There>s no doubt that $idespread random searches $ill
uncover some illegal $eapons or drugs in the beginning1 but that
doesn>t mean that it is actually effective in the long run. Rather it
$ill force offending students to be snea9ier. 6a9ing more rules
doesn>t get to the root of the problem1 but ma9es problems become
more concealed. 8f students have drugs1 they $ill :ust find different
places to hide them. Even though these search efforts are $ell
intentioned1 they do little to solve the problem of illegal drugs and
$eapons in the school and may actually punish the innocent. !or
example1 $hat if a nail file is found in a girl>s loc9er and the
security guards consider it a $eaponE 5ould her future be
:eopardiAed over a little manicure toolE 5hat if a boy has Tylenol
in his bac9pac9 because of a sprained an9leE These searches could
punish the innocent $hile the guilty thin9 of ne$ and snea9ier
$ays to hide their contraband.
8nstead of random bac9pac9 searches1 maybe schools could
offer alternate solutions li9e counseling or advertising for
anonymous help"lines. 8f students are using drugs or feel the need
for $eapons1 they obviously need real help. ;chools should point
troubled 9ids to safe solutions instead of (uic9 punishment. This
$ay the students that aren>t doing anything $rong $on>t be treated
li9e criminals and schools can 9eep their focus on academics and
education. F %44- &. &rcher G 6. Dleason
Example # ! continued 0*ompleted Thin9 ;heet2
Topic= random searches !orm= letter 77essay 77other
&udience= faculty members Type of preparation= thin9 /R
777collect evidence
Purpose= Persuade 77Pro *on @rainstorm and select convincing
Position on Topic: I disagree with having random searches of desks,
lockers, and backpacks.
5eason A. 5eason 8. 5eason &.
Invades personal privacy Destroys trust between Doesnt solve
students and faculty problem
8od0 A. Explain 8od0 8. Explain 8od0 &. Explain
1-desks, book bags, 1- not comfortable with
1- bad students sneakier
lockers are students

home !- hide drugs in new

"# faculty intimidating places
- contain personal items
-diaries ! # students worried " # may punish innocent
-notes about searches
! -pictures $ # e%ample # nail file
-retainers $ # feel vulnerable
& # e%ample - 'ylenol
& # changes school
- dont want people to see environment
- dont want people to
$ - embarrassing
77;ummariAe 77 *onvince ;uggest an &ction
Thin/ Sheet 3 Essa0 to persuade
Topic= 7777777777777777777777 !orm= 77 letter 77essay 77other
&udience= 7777777777777777777 Type of preparation= 777thin9 /R
77collect evidence
Purpose= Persuade 77Pro 77*on @rainstorm and select convincing
Position on Topic: 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777
Reason &. Reason @. Reason *.
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 777777777777777777777
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 777777777777777777777
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777
8od0 &. Explain 8od0 @. Explain 8od0 *. Explain
77 ;ummariAe 77 *onvince 77 ;uggest an &ction
Example # 3 Thin/ Sheet 3 Essa0 to Explain
Topic= 7777777777777777777777 !orm= 77 letter 77essay 77other
&udience= 7777777777777777777 Type of preparation= 777thin9 /R
Purpose= ExplainBReport @rainstorm and select three or more
ma:or reasons or points
Position on Topic:
ReasonBPoint &. ReasonBPoint @. ReasonBPoint *.
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 7777777777777777777777
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 7777777777777777777777
7777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777 7777777777777777777777
8od0 &. ;upporting Details 8od0 @. ;upporting Details 8od0 *. ;upporting Details
77 ;ummariAe 77 *onvince 77 ;uggest an &ction
Example # continued " Essay to Explain
Than/sgi%ing 3 A Da0 of Aratitude
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving for a
number of reasons. First, Thanksgiving gives me an
opportunity to visit and play with friends and family
members. Of course, Thanksgiving is also a great day to
enjoy a variety of wonderful foods. In addition, it is a chance
to stop and express gratitude for the richness of our lives.
First, Thanksgiving affords me the gift of gathering with
friends and family members. Normally, I celebrate
Thanksgiving on the Friday after the official holiday. Twenty-
five to fifty people generally attend my Thanksgiving party.
My guests include my sister and her family and an array of
friends from across the country. We spend much of our time
just visiting, but we also engage in numerous activities. For
example, we entertain each other by telling a story, playing
the piano or guitar, or singing a song. Guests who dont
want to perform make up the attentive audience. As a
group, we also sing traditional Thanksgiving songs and
hymns. After eating, we play games, go on a group stroll
through the neighborhood, and continue our conversations.
Thanksgiving is not only an excellent time to enjoy
friends and family members, it is also a wonderful time to
EAT. You should see the buffet table at our Thanksgiving
party. Of course, we have all the traditional foods: turkey,
mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. In addition, we
always have a variety of vegetables and a Pacific Northwest
specialty, salmon. The guests usually bring the desserts
including pies, cakes, and cookies. My favorite
Thanksgiving food may surprise you: bread covered with
gravy. Late at night, once my guests have turned off their
lights, I slip back to the kitchen for my private snack. I tear a
piece of bread into small pieces, cover it with gravy, heat the
mixture in the microwave, and sit down for the final feast.
But most importantly, I love Thanksgiving
because I take time to reflect on my life and express
gratitude for my abundance. Even as I prepare for
Thanksgiving, I contemplate my many blessings. As I set
the table, I remember many of my relatives: my mother who
gave me the salt and pepper shakers, my grandmother who
once cherished the pitcher with an autumn leaf design, my
sister who brought me the blue serving dish for this party.
As I prepare the food, I am reminded of all the gifts that I
have in my life that others lack: joyful work, abundant food,
the shelter of a house, and warm clothing. My final
preparation activity, creating floral arrangements for each of
the tables, always carries me into deep gratitude for the
beauty of nature. And then my friends arrive and I
experience the greatest blessings of my life.
As you can see Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
But it should also be your favorite for Thanksgiving is the
only holiday that will never disappoint you. On Christmas,
you may not get the gift you hoped for. On Valentines Day,
you may not have a girl or boy friend. On the Fourth of July,
the fireworks may be cancelled due to dry conditions.
However, on Thanksgiving, you expected turkey and you got
Example # 12 - Short Story
Think Sheet Story
);, Title
)#, Setting
), Main &haracter)s,
)", Pro'lem
)$, 8eginning
)2, Middle
)B, End
Example # 13 - Personal Narrative Think Sheet
Auto'iographical -ncident
Thin/ Sheet
)2, Title
), -ncident
)#, Setting
)$, E%ents in order
)", Lesson learned
Auto'iographical -ncident
Thin/ Sheet
)2, Title +ive ,eart
012 -ncident )ifth grade "ith *rs# )inle -- ,eart pin
)#, Settings *ountain .ie" Elementar$ School
)$, E%ents
/# Arrive at *ountain .ie"#
0# Difficult$ adapting to ne" fifth grade class#
1# Decided to be silent#
2# *rs# )inle "as ind and caring#
3aled to me#
Patted m$ bac#
Smiled at me#
4# 5lass got better#
*ade friends#
Participated in class#
6# *rs# )inle caught heart pin in hairnet#
7# ,elped *rs# )inle remove pin#
8# She gave me the pin and told me to 9give heart:as a teacher#
;# 3oda$ I "ear on .alentine<s Da$#
/=# Wear hearts ever$ da$ > and tr$ to 9give heart:#
)", Lesson learned
+ive heart to all people# Sho" love and care#
Ai%e Ceart
8eing a teacher .as not e%en a consideration at the
time, 'ut Mrs. Din/le, m0 fifth grade teacher, taught me
m0 first lesson a'out teaching. E%en no., it is the
lesson that - tr0 to practice e%er0 da0.
Mountain @ie. .as the second school of m0 fifth
grade, the eighth school of m0 short school career.
After so man0 mo%es, the prospect of ma/ing ne.
friends, of learning a'out a ne. teacher, of once again
learning the classroom routines, 'rought me to total
silence. Dor an outgoing person, silence .as a ne.
experience. - 9ust didn>t .ant to tr0 again.
Co.e%er, Mrs. Din/le .as not a'out to lose m0
mind or soul. - .ill ne%er forget the little things she did
each da0 to reach out to the silent one: tal/ing .ith me
as .e lined up for music, patting m0 'ac/ as - .or/ed
on math pro'lems, Euietl0 praising m0 efforts, .riting
comments on m0 papers. 8est of all, .hen - .as
reading or .or/ing, - .ould loo/ up and there .ould 'e
her smileFgreeting me, ma/ing me feel safe.
Araduall0, the scar0 life of fifth grade in a ne.
school 'egan to fade. - did ma/e friends. - did 'egin to
tal/ in class. - 'egan to .rite long stories and to read
them to m0 class. All of this occurred 'ecause of the
lo%e and care shared '0 Mrs. Din/le.
And one da0, she shared a s0m'ol of that lo%e. -t
.as right 'efore recess and most of the /ids .ere
alread0 out the door. Mrs. Din/le and - .ere 'oth at
the cloa/room pulling on hats, glo%es, and coats as
protection against the De'ruar0 cold. As she put on her
coat, Mrs. Din/le caught her hairnet on her red heart
pin that al.a0s rested on her collar. After struggling
for a moment, she 'ec/oned, GAnita , .ould 0ou help
me.H Soon - had separated the heart pin from her
hairnet. Co.e%er, instead of replacing the pin, she
handed it to me and gentl0 directed, G(ou ta/e it. (ou
.ill 'e a teacher someda0. 5emem'er to gi%e heartF
Dort0 0ears later, - .ear that heart each
@alentine>s Da0. 8ut e%er0da0, - .ear at least one
heart and tr0 to remem'er her message as - teach.
GAi%e heart.H Than/s, Mrs. Din/le.