Writing the First Draft is divided into four steps. Each step contains examples that illustrate the application of this process across the curriculum.
Step 1: Understanding the Quick Picture
The Quick Picture is the initial step in the process. Students learn to think about the purpose for each paragraph in their writing. The students become proficient in translating each coherent idea into an image. These images are the Quick Pictures.
Step 2: Using the Area of Focus
The "area of focus" becomes the main idea behind each paragraph. Students realize that each paragraph centers on one area of focus. This focus is based on their Quick Picture. The area of focus keeps student writing centered; as a result, each paragraph is clearly defined. Students learn to tell a coherent story and deliver a coherent message, as opposed to rambling or listing actions or events.
Step 3: Answering Guide Questions to Write the First Draft
The Guide Questions make it easy for students to organize what they want to say. Students learn to use the Guide Questions as a springboard that maximizes language expression. The Guide Questions make it very easy for students create meaningful paragraphs that engage the reader and get the key message across.
Step 4: Maximizing Elaboration
Students become comfortable evaluating their initial draft and determining where to include valuable elaboration. This elaboration takes place as part of revision. Students learn to enjoy thinking about different ways to elaborate.
The annotated examples in this book demonstrate how to apply each of these four steps of the process. Teachers can incorporate this process into any part of the curriculum.
Bonus: Developing a Literature Response Journal
At the end of this book, I have included a section entitled "Developing A Literature Response Journal." Literature Response Journals are the perfect instructional tool for teaching students how to think about literature.
These journals are appropriate for both elementary and middle school students. The Literary Response Journal complements the step-by-step process for writing the first draft by helping students learn to analyze literature in an organized manner. If teachers incorporate the structure outlined in this section into their literacy program, student comprehension should increase markedly.