March is National Reading Month. Reading is also about writing which can be the trickiest part English Language Arts–ELA lessons. Often, getting started is the most difficult step. Here are POWER writing prompts for research papers, personal narratives, compositions, essays and news articles or research papers. Use these in ELA lessons and creative writing classes.
In POWER writing prompts. P is for purpose and plan. Determine purpose of paper–research papers (position or thesis papers based on fact), compositions (type 2 writing), personal narratives (experience stories) or essays (opinion pieces bolstered with facts)? Make sure you understand the ELA lessons assignment and the teacher’s expectations. Your teacher should provide explanations and an assignment guide. Ask your instructor if you have questions.
Begin planning your paper by choosing your topic. For ELA lessons on essays and compositions, decide by asking yourself: What are my interests, pet peeves or causes? For ELA lessons on personal narratives, what do you know about? What experiences have you had? For research papers, what do I want to know more about? What theories do you have on topics that you could explore? Write personal narratives about family history, travel or hobbies. Write essays about war, gun control, abortion, politics. If animals interest you, write research papers about veterinary medicine or animal rights. Look for unique angles for topics.
In POWER writing prompts, O is for organize. Every paper has a beginning (introduction), middle (body) and an end (conclusion). POWER writing prompts begin in the middle. Jot down 10-12 main points you want to cover. Organize them into three groups. Choose the most important detail in each group. This will be the main idea in each paragraph in your paper’s body. The other points will be supporting sentences.
In POWER writing prompts, W is or write. Write your introduction, based on ideas and topics covered in your body. All papers should have an attention-grabber–an interesting statistic, a question, a bold statement, or an illustrative story. In introductions for research papers, state your position and what you will prove. For an essay, state your opinion and how you will prove it. In personal narratives, introduce characters, setting and plot (also use this for short stories and plays). For compositions, introduce theme.
Write your conclusion. Conclusions wrap up what you have said in different words. Conclusions are restatements of introductions. If your compositions are longer, sum up your main points. Paraphrase so it will not sound repetitive. In essays, especially, end with a punch, to leave readers convinced of your opinion.
Next in POWER writing, you edit. Reread your work for spelling errors, grammar, and content problems. Use your computer spellcheck and grammar check but use common sense also. Have someone proofread. Now’s the time to add footnotes, endnotes and bibliography, if required
The last POWER writing step is Revise. Don’t just recopy or rewrite–clean up vocabulary, style and word choices, spelling and grammar. Let revisions marinate, then revise some more. You may even have to make major changes to get your paper just write. Like a piece of pottery, every good piece of writing goes through two or more revisions–first it’s plastic (totally reshapable), then raw greenware, then bisque, mostly finished but open to correction and finally it’s solid glazeware!
Save a copy for future reference. And never underestimate your writing skills. Writing is “art in words.” Everyone has compositions locked within. Everyone has personal narratives to share. All you need is to practice writing skills to unlock your ideas.