I want to share a couple of books we’ve been using that are really helping my son with his writing issues. If you have any that have worked with your kids, please share those, too.

He is brilliant in math, so I was looking for some things with an a + b =c method of essay writing.

The Middle School Writing Toolkit, by Tim Clifford: This is a Writer’s Workshop model. One specific topic is demonstrated and then the student practices for about 10 minutes. For example, an Ending Technique (there are 10 kinds total in the book) is shown with clear examples, the student practices the technique, and then applies this to his essay. He includes a list of which lessons to use with which assignment type (literary response, report, …). There are 57 lessons. Each is further broken down into four sub-lessons by difficulty or by type of writing, so you can choice which works best for the situation.

Reviving Disengaged Writers, by Christopher Lehman: This is a short, easy read geared for teachers with struggling writers. I had no problem understanding his suggestions and implementing them. There are some ideas for specific types of writing assignments, but most of the suggestions apply for any type of writing.

We also have been using the Brain Pop video on creating an outline, even when my son doesn’t create note cards. That video helps him organize his thoughts.

The one piece missing is a really clear, step-by-step model for writing a thesis statement for a research report. The Writing Toolkit book, surprisingly, doesn’t have that piece. It goes into the entire opening paragraph (and does so very well), but not the thesis specifically. Any suggestions?