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Jensens Format writing....

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ER used Format Writing independently. It's been about 5 years since he used it, so I can't remember exactly what we did, but I think I just assigned him a different type of essay every few days. He would read the information in the book and then work on the essay for a couple of days or so.

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One thing... you need to be VERY careful with this book. It uses first person A LOT for thesis statements. The writing is formulaic. It is fine for a first writing book, I guess. However, do NOT allow them to use first person. I can't tell you how many children cannot get that through their heads!!!!!

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Yes. DD15 is using it independently. I created my own schedule which I'll paste below. I've seen a few different posts recently criticising Jensen's Format Writing because of the use of first person. It doesn't seem to be a problem here. I just explained to my DD that first person is used in less formal writing but doesn't usually belong in formal expository writing. The program has too many strong points for me to worry about one potential weakness. It does a great job describing the many different types of essays and leading the students through how to approach and structure each one.


Format Writing by Frode Jensen


This writing program has several sections and the schedule will vary with each section.


Beginning material


• Week 1 – Read the “to the student” introduction on pages 5-6, the Single Paragraph formats on pages 12 to16, and do the exercise on page 17.


Single paragraph formats


Spend two weeks on each paragraph format: read the introduction to each and complete 4 paragraphs of each format.

• Week 2 & 3 – Example

• Week 4 & 5 – Classification

• Week 6 & 7 – Definition

• Week 8 & 9 – Process

• Week 10 & 11 – Analogy

• Week 12 & 13 – Cause & Effect

• Week 14 & 15 – Comparison


Five Paragraph Essay Elements


This section describes the elements of a five paragraph essay and provides exercises to practice.

• Week 16 – Read and complete exercises for pages 34 to 41

• Week 17 – Read and complete exercises for pages 42 to 46

• Week 18 - Read and complete exercises for pages 47 to 52


Five Paragraph Essays


Read the introduction and guidelines (pages 53-54) and then complete 1 essay each week. You will complete two essays for each format.

• Week 19 & 20 – Example

• Week 21 & 22 – Classification

• Week 23 & 24– Definition

• Week 25 & 26 – Process

• Week 27& 28 – Analogy

• Week 29 & 30 – Cause & Effect

• Week 31 & 32 – Comparison


Book Reports and Test Questions


Read the introduction and write 1 book report per week for three weeks, each from a different genre. The following week will cover test questions.

• Week 33, 34, & 35 – Book report

• Week 36 – Read test questions section on pages 83-84 and write an essay each day on a teacher supplied topic.


Business Writing


This section covers business type writing, including letters and resumes.

• Week 37 – Letters

o Day 1 - Business letter writing and assignment (pages 86-89)

o Day 2 – Letter complaint and assignment (pages 90-91)

o Day 3 – Cover letter and assignment (pages 92-94)

o Day 4 – Political letter and assignment (pages 95-96)

• Week 38 – Resume, read pages 97-103 and assignment




This section explains how to condense text into brief notes.

• Week 39 – Condensing

o Day 1 – Read introduction (pages 105-106) and do exercise #1

o Day 2 – Do exercise #2

o Day 3 – Read the Precis and do exercise # 1 (pages 109-110)

o Day 4 – Do exercise #2

o Day 5 – Do exercise pages 112-114


Major Papers


Spend the first week reading through the parts of a major paper and creating samples. You will then complete 4 major paper assignments, 1000-1200 words each and using at least 3 sources for each. You will have two weeks to complete each one.

• Week 40

o Day 1 – Read pages 116-118 and create a sample title page

o Day 2 – Read pages 119-121 and create a works cited practice page

o Day 3 – Read pages 123-127

o Day 4 – Read pages 128-133

• Week 41-42 Major Paper 1

• Week 43-44 Major Paper 2

• Week 45-46 Major Paper 3

• Week 47-48 Major Paper 4

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Thank you, Pegasus, for that schedule! That was along the lines of what I was thinking, but this was a simple copy and paste. You saved me a LOT of work! :)


For those of you who used this, did you do literature at the same time, one semester of each, or one year (or so) of Jensen's and literature a different year?

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DD also does a literature program in parallel. She's used the American Lit books from Lightning Literature and is now using Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings. We will either reduce the amount of writing she does for the lit program or she will set aside the writing program for a day or two while she does the lit writing.

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