Composition Curriculum Resources



If you or your child enjoys writing and/or likes to work without a traditional textbook, here are the resources I would recommend, and in the order in which I would use them.

Or until the child can write comfortably in manuscript. See The Three Rs for more information on this age level.

  • Read aloud daily from a variety of literature to increase his vocabulary.

  • Have him dictate his compositions to you or on a tape recorder.

  • Make booklets with pictures and have him dictate what he wants to say.

  • Make his dictations relate to other subjects being studied such as history or science. (I make my granddaughter little construction paper booklets. She cuts out pictures and pastes them into the booklet. We sometimes make it a theme booklet, like animals, flowers, insects, etc. Then I let her dictate to me what she wants to say about each picture and I write it on the page. She writes her name on the front to practice handwriting.)

Your child must be able to write comfortably in manuscript for these activities. Otherwise have him do them orally or continue with activities listed in PreK - Kindergarten.

  • Read aloud from a variety of literature that is above grade level to increase his vocabulary.

  • Start the lesson with warm up exercises.

  • Let him be creative. Encourage him to make up stories. Use one of these resources to get him started:

    -Creative Writing Ideas. This booklet has it all. Because it is graphically oriented, it is great for the Visual Learner. It includes forms for shape stories, draw and write stories, riddle crafts, sequence and write (cut out pictures, put them in any order, then write the story based on the order of the pictures), fill in missing words sort of like mad libs, story starters (write a story based on the given short sentence and picture), comics (color and cut out figures for cartoon. Then write in speech bubbles.), and other lessons. I like this a lot because it helps them learn to use descriptive writing, use all the senses in their writing, and provides some practical lessons as well (writing directions, how-tos, letter writing, and a short section on poetry.) A great resource you shouldn't be without. ISBN 1557996075.

    - Story Starters by Karen Andreoloa. "Each story suspends the student in the middle of a predicament. He is then faced with the question, “What happens next?” . . . each story is illustrated with one or more engaging 19th century pictures. The settings are sometimes intense, sometimes funny, sometimes sweetly domestic, but always pose a challenge."

    -Cut & Paste An Animal Story. This is fun. Your child colors picture boxes, cuts them out, and then pastes them in any order he desires. Then he writes his story based on the order he has pasted his pictures. Purchase at education stores.

    - Comic Book Creator (Interactive):

  • Have him dictate the stories occasionally. You can either write them by hand or type them for him.

  • Help him create a picture autobiography. Collect pictures of your child from birth to present age. Have him paste one to a page in a composition book. Each day, have him write short captions to the pictures.

  • Make graphic “books” with him and let him label the pictures. Use resources such as:

    How to Make Books with Children: Science & Math Topics include magnets, dinosaurs, weather, seasons, electricity, plants, matter, sound, moon, solar system, five senses, animals, flight, animal camouflage, gravity, earthquake, habitats, my body, and volcanoes. This is a wonderful resource for multi-level teaching! Written for grades 1-6.

    - Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike.

    - Easy File Folder Reports by Evan-Moor. This is a brand new resource for your Visual learner and anyone who likes cut, paste, color, and crafts. Students create a 3-D file folder report that includes 3-D graphics and short writing assignments (perfect for the reluctant writer). Topics are All about Me, Explorers, Native Americans, Women of America, Black Americans, Incredible People, National Monuments, U.S. states (short enough you can learn about another state besides your own), U.S. Presidents, Inventions, National Parks, Seeds to Plants, Desert Dwellers, Forest Dwellers, Minerals, Life in the Oceans, Save the Earth, Endangered Animals, Holidays (New Years, Independence Days, Thanksgiving, Arbor Day, December Holidays). There is enough here that anyone could use this book. Recommended for grades 3 - 6. Published 2004. ISBN 1557999635.

  • Teach him what a sentence is and how to write a good one. Use resources such as:

    - How to Write a Sentence by TCM. This is an easy-to-use resource for specific instruction on writing sentences. It includes sentence structure, capitals and punctuation, subjects, verbs, and adjectives. A review game and an award certificate is included. 36 lessons. I recommend doing two per week for an 18-week course, finishing the year with How To Write a Paragraph (see below). ISBN 1576904989.

    - Write A Super Sentence Grades 1-3 by Evan-Moor. This is an excellent resource for helping your children learn to use Who, What, Where, When and How to add interest to their writing. 15+ lessons. Includes reproducible forms and Sentence Wheel, Pull-Through Sentence, and Flip Book activities. ISBN 1557996067.

  • Teach him what a paragraph is and how to put one together. Use resources such as:

    - How to Write a Paragraph by TCM. 36 lessons. Covers how to come up with ideas for writing, how to develop a main idea, how to stick to the main point by using topic sentences, using explanations or what next to write the body of the paragraph, paragraph endings, how to describe using VENN diagrams, persuasive writing, ISBN 1576904946.

  • Teach him the beginnings of outlining.

    - Four Square Writing, Grades 1-3 by Teaching & Learning Company.

  • As they are ready, begin to prepare them for report writing. See 4th-6th below.

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Or as soon as your child writes comfortably in both manuscript and cursive.

3. 100 Things to Do With Books:

  • Teach him how to write letters, thank you notes, memos, envelopes, resumes, faxes and more everyday writing.

    - Everyday Writing by Teacher Created Materials. ISBN 0743936159.

  • Begin teaching him descriptive, explanatory and persuasive writing. Use resources such as:

    - HOW TEACH NONFICTION WRITING/3-6 by Evan Moor. ISBN 1557998000.

    - Explanatory Writing by The Mailbox. Purchase at education stores.

    - Persuasive Writing by The Mailbox. Purchase at education stores.

    - Descriptive Writing by The Mailbox. Purchase at education stores.

    - Descriptive Mysteries by Critical Thinking Books. Purchase at education stores.

  • Introduce creative writing using resources such as:

    - Cut & Paste An Animal Story by EduPress. Purchase at education stores.

    - Creative Writing Ideas. Forms for shape stories, draw and write stories, riddle crafts, sequence and write (cut out pictures, put them in any order, then write the story based on the order of the pictures), fill in missing words sort of like mad libs, story starters (write a story based on the given short sentence and picture), comics (color and cut out figures for cartoon. Then write in speech bubbles.), and other lessons. ISBN 1557996075.

    - HOW TO WRITE STORY/GR 1-3 by Evan-Moor. ISBN 1557998019.

- How to Write a Story, Grades 2-5 by Teacher Created Materials

- Story Ideas:

- Story Builder:

  • Teach him to write poetry using Poetry Patterns by Evan-Moor. This is a wonderful resource that covers all forms of poetry writing. ISBN 1557997330. Also check out 30 Days of Poetry, a 30-day lesson plan covering all forms of poetry writing.

  • For additional work in composition, use:

    - Expanding the Writing Process With Elaboration, Challenging by Teacher Created Materials.

    - Writing Strands by National Writing Institute. This is an excellent series. If you have a budding author, this is the best composition curriculum out there. I recommend starting this in 2nd grade and work through 12th grade. See Composition Textbooks Recommendations for recommendations by grade level for more information.

    - Teaching the Elements of Powerful Writing Using Great Fiction and Nonfiction Models by Jane Sullivan. Scholastic. This resource is a diamond in the rough! It took a lot of effort on my part, as the teacher, to understand the concept, BUT it was well worth the effort. This is not a quick-fix, easy-to-do worksheet approach so if you're looking for something quick and easy, you will need to look elsewhere. Instead, this is a resource that can be used throughout the year to teach specific techniques in writing by reading good literature, breaking it down into lessons on writing strong leads, using your senses, creating characters, and more. I found this resource extremely valuable and helpful in training children to write both fiction and nonfiction. I recommend it to those who are willing to take the time to teach children to write interesting and effective compositions. The technique can be applied to any literature of the same type, so you could substitute your own books instead of the ones suggested. ISB 0439517818. Gr 3-6+

  • When ready, prepare him for research report writing using resources such as:

    - How to Write a Research Report by Teacher Created Materials.

  • Teach him how to write letters, business letters, thank you notes, resumes, etc.

  • Use Writing Project Ideas for ideas to integrate composition with other subjects.

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7th - 12th grade

Assessment Resources for Teachers:

For more information on teaching composition, download my free Composition Mini Workshop for Parents (pdf document).

Don't forget to keep track of what you did for composition in The Checklist!



Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes