Posts in Teach Write


Primary and Secondary Sources

Research for Writers: Comparing Primary and Secondary Sources

We are going to be devoting many Teach Write columns to the intricacies of research for student and professional writers. Today, we are starting with the fundamentals: the difference between primary and secondary sources. Students need to understand this ... Read More  

Ideas for Writing Assignments

Writing Assignments: Four Tips for Approaching Topics You Didn’t Choose

School is starting soon (however strange and remote it may be), which means... writing assignments! Today on Teach Write, we are talking about coming up with ideas for writing on assigned topics. True story: most of my children's books are ... Read More  

Giants in the Canyons: Where Nonfiction Writers Get Their Ideas

The human brain is really good at filtering out extraneous information. It's a survival instinct meant to focus our attention on things essential to life (ripe cherries!) and things that might kill us (bears!). Grappling with these big picture ... Read More  

The Idea Store: Sources of Inspiration for Children’s Writers

When asked where we get our ideas, writers often joke "The idea store." In an age where we can type "writing prompts" into Google and return literally thousands of starting points for our next masterpieces, it's actually not that ... Read More  

Teach Write: Five Tasks to Complete BEFORE You Start Writing

For the last few months, we've been talking about the first two things we must do before we sit down to write: Identify our audience Who are we writing for? Kids, adults, professional peers, our teachers? What does that audience need from ... Read More  

Teach Write: A Common Misunderstanding About the Purpose of Children’s Literature

For the last few months, we've been looking at the purpose of different genres of writing, and the way the purpose of a document affects our approach to the task. Most of those columns focused on academic writing, but ... Read More  

Teach Write: The (REAL) Purpose of Personal Statements and Letters of Intent

Personal statements and letters of intent... with the possible exception of the dissertation, there are no forms of academic writing quite as likely to turn an ordinary student into a quivering ball of overwhelming anxiety. Deep breaths, all. I am ... Read More  

Teach Write: The Purpose of Lit Reviews, Critical Analyses, and Other Forms of Academic Writing

Last time, I talked about the purpose of the most popular form of academic writing - the argumentative essay. You can also read about the distinct (but closely related) purposes of lab reports and scientific papers here. If you're ... Read More  

Teach Write: What Is an Essay For?

Happy New Year, and welcome to January, also known as "the start of a new semester." Which means it's a perfect time to talk about the most common form of writing assigned by university professors - the essay. Students ... Read More  

Teach Write: Lab Reports and Scientific Papers

If you're new to this column, we've spent the last couple months talking about the influence that our intended audience has on the way we approach a piece of writing, and now we're discussing purpose - the goal of ... Read More  

Teach Write: An Introduction to Purpose

As part of our preparation for writing a new piece, we need to think about audience - who we are writing for and how the knowledge and needs of that audience affect the way we approach our work. Figuring ... Read More  

Teach Write: Age Groups and Audience in Children’s Literature

This will be our final column on audience (at least for now). So buckle up for a crash course on age levels in children's literature! First, a caveat: the categories I'm presenting here are not absolute. Different people use different ... Read More  

Teach Write: The Dual Audiences of Children’s Literature

Last time, we discussed the special, double audience that we have to consider when writing a class assignment for a teacher. Hopefully that advice will help all the students that have now gone back to school! The audience* for ... Read More  

Teach Write: When Your Teacher is Your Audience

Listen up, students, because this edition of Teach Write is all for you: today, we continue our exploration of audience with a critical one: teachers. When teachers give us writing assignments, they are trying to measure two things: Read More  

Teach Write: Identifying Your Audience

Last time we talked about why it's important for writers to think about audience - the readers we are writing for. Today, let's dig a little deeper into types of readers, and identify some questions we can use to ... Read More  

Teach Write: Who Are You Writing For?

Last time we talked about the 40:20:40 rule of writing, and how the first 40% of the effort that goes into any piece happens in the preparation phase. The very first piece of preparation is to identify your audience: ... Read More  

Teach Write: The Three-Step Writing Process

Welcome to Teach Write! This column draws on my 20 years' experience teaching writing to kids, university students, and adult learners. It includes ideas and exercises that teachers can use in the classroom, and creative writers can use to ... Read More