Revising Sentences by Adding “Juicy Details”
Do your students’ sentences drip with juicy details, engaging and enticing the reader? Or do they plod along, a repository for just the most basic information? When you ask students to add details, do they pile up adjectives before nouns? Or add sentences, each sentence basic in structure, adding just one detail per sentence, creating paragraphs that lumber along–thump, thump, thump–instead of demonstrating variety and flowing gracefully? Then this workshop if for you! Decades ago, I learned from the writings of Francis Christensen how to write sentences that subordinate details to a main statement, using grammatical options that most students seldom employ unless they are avid readers, in love with richly written texts. Paradoxically, perhaps, playing with form can help writers generate content—those “juicy” details that we find call to us as readers.
In this webinar, I’ll use examples from Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing (2008), my most recent book on the subject; share some student examples; work with you to expand some sentences with these grammatical options; and finally turn to student paragraphs to see where we might guide writers to discover more within themselves, encouraging and scaffolding them to expand upon their meaning by adding details in grammatical options. Am I always able to do this? No! But we can discuss other alternatives to try.
Digital handouts will be available through Google docs a week in advance of the webinar.
Recommended Reading: Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing
Constance (Connie) Weaver is happily retired from many years teaching English Education courses in the Department of English at Western Michigan University, and from Miami University in Ohio, where she held an endowed chair in reading and language arts (Teacher Education) for the last five years of her educational career. Her best-known publication in the field of reading was Reading Process (1988), now in a third edition as Reading Process and Practice. She developed a unique stance on the teaching of grammar, beginning with Grammar for Teachers (1979), her “classic” Grammar in Context (1996) plus an edited book, finally culminating in The Grammar Plan Book (2007) and Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing (with Jon Bush, 2008). Through all these books on grammar and writing, it has been her passion to help teachers learn to teach a minimum of grammar in conjunction with writing; that is, to maximize the effects of grammar instruction on writing while minimizing the instructional time required. About ten years ago, Connie played a significant role in revising, for the MDE, a scope and sequence for teaching grammar, but she advocates teaching grammatical elements as the need arises. She lives in Portage, MI with her cat Sweetie.