Classical Writing Instruction: Logic Stage

Writing Coach

(The following is a summary of information I gleaned from Writing With Ease by Susan Wise Bauer.)

Grades 5 – 8: Writing With Style

By middle school, the technical act of writing has been conquered. The student can summarize in his own words, ideas he has read, and get those words on paper without difficulty.

The next challenge is to learn how to order ideas.

This is done at the sentence level and at the composition level.

Sentence-Level Ordering through Diagramming


  • To be able to test the logic of his sentence: “Does it sound right?”
  • To be able to think critically about his sentence structure:”What are the logical relationships between the parts of this sentence?”
  • To be able to fix weak sentences, which result from fuzzy thinking: “How can I improve the structure of this sentence?

Composition-Level Ordering through Outlining


  • To learn correct outline form AND how to rank information by its importance and relationship to other ideas/facts in the composition.
  • To practice outline form by outlining the (non-fiction) writing of others, beginning with isolating the main points of paragraphs, then adding supporting facts and additional information.
  • To continue narrative summaries by reading the passage >>outlining the passage >>rewriting from the outline only >>comparing the rewrite with the original piece.

Summary thoughts:

  • You are NOT asking the student to originate an outline and then write from it. You are letting him see models of how other writers do that by having them read an author’s finished work and letting them work backwards to create what the original¬† outline might have looked like.¬† Then they turn that outline into their version of the original, and then let them judge how well they did.
  • Don’t give in to the “my-child’s-writing-more-than-your-child” pressure from others.



More Than Just Playing Outside…

“The more I wonder…the more I love.” – Alice Walker

“Intelligence is not so much the capacity to learn as the capacity to wonder.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The world is full of magic things waiting patiently for our senses to grow sharper.” -John Keats

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Too often when I am outside I am unaware, unappreciative of my surroundings.When children are around, I am ‘quick to slow down’.¬† I take the time with them to notice and appreciate the detail surrounding us.

It’s not that I don’t wonder ‘why this/why that’. It’s just that I am more motivated to allow myself the time to pursue the answers when I am helping a child learn and grow in wonder. I am thankful for how God uses children to keep me ‘childlike’.

Make time to enjoy God’s creation with the children in your life; recapture the wonder/amazement factor that comes when we “are still” and look with fresh eyes at what surrounds us daily.