Writing is the best way to become able thinkers and effective leaders.
“The inability to communicate powerfully puts our children at the mercy of those whose skills may be strong but whose ideas and passions are evil.”
The easiest beginning format is the five-paragraph essay:
- Find a topic that interests you.
- Read about it; think about what you’ve read; jot down some of your thoughts; relate what you’ve learned to things you are familiar with. (I like the “Four R’ing” method taught by the Foundation for American Christian Education: Research; Reason; Relate; Record.)
- Choose a main point you would like to make (thesis). Come up with three ideas or pieces of evidence that support your thesis.
- Create an opening paragraph that states your thesis and your three supporting arguments.
- Use one paragraph to address each supporting argument. Each paragraph should contain a main idea and supporting information.
- In your closing paragraph, wrap it all up by stating the conclusions you’ve drawn and issuing a challenge to your audience. (What do you want them to do with or about the information you’ve given them?)
Polish your essay:
“Make every word carry its weight.” –Leslie Norris
- Create simple transitions between paragraphs, so that your audience can move easily from one idea to the next.
- Use an attention getting device (AGD) at the beginning of your essay.
- Be aware of your audience; tailor your writing to their age, expertise and interests.
- Cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary.
- Use your own voice. Writing is more engaging when it comes from your heart.
Once you are able to work easily in the five-paragraph format, you can dispense with that framework and adjust your format to fit your material, rather than fitting your material to a format.