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Please help! Thinking in Threes, Writing With a Thesis, and The Lively Art of Writing


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I’ve been searching for some writing helps for our boys, ages 13, 16, and 17..

I came across these names and bought all three books. 🙂

Which of these would you use?  All?  What order?

eta: I see I posted this on the k-8 page. I’ll cross post on high school, too

Edited by wehave8
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It really depends on what you need.

If you need a program to guide you through the overall essay writing process, and to cover the various types of writing typically needed in high school and college, then the Lively Art of Writing is the closest to that goal. There is a free workbook you can download that was created by 2 WTMers to go along with this book, if you are interested. See this past thread for the link to that workbook: "Lively Art of Writing formatted workbook and key".

If you need something to guide you specifically in how to think through an argument and write a thesis statement for high school and college level writing, then Writing With a Thesis might fit that goal. <--(That link allows you to log on and "borrow" an older edition for free/read online, so you can preview it.) This book is often used in colleges by teachers of Writing 101/102 courses. It is informational, not directly teaching, so it does require you to "translate" it into "lessons" or to "teach" it.

If you need something to help your students practice coming up with how to support a thesis statement -- i.e., the body of an essay -- then Thinking in Threes might assist there. Similarly to the above book, this requires more work for the parent to figure out how to "teach" the information in the book.


If you need something that has more guidance for YOU as the teacher, then you might look at The Power in Your Hands (Watson). Or... the unit on writing a literary analysis essay in the literature guide of Windows to the World is very clear and step by step, and even includes a general "thesis generator" to help jumpstart the student's thinking in how to come up with what to write about a work of literature in a literary analysis essay.

Or, you might consider outsourcing to Lantern English classes, particularly the Essay Writing series of classes. These are $60 for each 8 week course, and includes instruction and feedback/scoring on student papers.

BEST of luck in finding what is the best fit for each of your students! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I really enjoyed using Writing With a Thesis with younger high school kids. 

Patterns for College Writing was a good follow up. 

My recent graduate really enjoyed They Say I Say this year. He's a classic "why use five paragraphs when I can sum it up in five syllables" kind of kid. He grinned big when he saw fill in the blanks. 😆 (This one is or was a strong recommendation in TWTM.)

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