The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.
Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
Welcome to Adventures in Writing, a series of graphic-novel style learning modules designed to help you learn more about and practice a range of effective written communication skills. You’ll immerse yourself in the adventures of Maya and Chris, using each module’s interactive exercises to apply what you’ve learned. Writing instructors in Stanford’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) designed the modules to reflect PWR’s philosophy that the best academic and real world communication practices require us to think about more than “correctness” or just getting things right—we must actively consider what we’re trying to achieve with a specific audience for a specific purpose. Through joining Maya and Chris on their adventures, you’ll develop your abilities to communicate in writing—from punctuation and style to argument—increasing the power of your language in the classroom and beyond.
"PERSUASIVE writing provides high schoolers with opportunities to articulate a main point (thesis statement) and to build supporting arguments. Use these persuasive essay prompts for research paper assignments, timed writing practice, or formal discussions with your teen.
"When choosing examples for their persuasive papers, high school students should draw from their studies, reading, and personal experience."
While ever more schools adopt textbooks and student reading materials to digital readers like iPads and Chromebooks, some recent research suggests students may comprehend more from reading print. Middle school students who read from both print and e-books showed they understood more of what they read from the ink-and-paper book
These teachers see the internet and digital technologies such as social networking sites, cell phones and texting, generally facilitating teens’ personal expression and creativity, broadening the audience for their written material, and encouraging teens to write more often in more formats than may have been the case in prior generations. At the same time, they describe the unique challenges of teaching writing in the digital age, including the “creep” of informal style into formal writing assignments and the need to better educate students about issues such as plagiarism and fair use.
Elizabeth Werner, 4th grade teacher at Reagan Elementary (Brownsburg, IN), initially used Ruth Culham's 6-Traits songs to introduce the writing traits to her students. But her students wanted something more modern. Being a musical learner herself, Elizabeth saw the value in meeting her students' learning needs. She began listening to some popular songs that she knew her students were familiar with. She listened to the choruses and began to consider how she could rewrite the trait songs to fit these new tunes.
"COMPARE AND CONTRAST essays don’t have to be dull and tedious! Your high school students will be sure to enjoy a few of this week’s lighthearted topics.
"Help teens stay focused with a four-paragraph outline: introduction, similarities, differences, and conclusion. Motivated writers may need two paragraphs for the comparisons or two paragraphs for the contrasts, and that’s fine, too!"
"INFORMATIVE essays give teens a chance to thoroughly research, understand, and communicate a topic of interest. Let your high schooler choose one of these expository essay prompts, and encourage them to use their best writing organization skills!"
"Every school day since 2009 we’ve asked students a question based on an article in The New York Times. Now, five years later, we’ve collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place. Consider it a companion to the list of 200 argumentative writing prompts we posted earlier this year.
"The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our Student Opinion questions, each links to a related Times article and includes a series of follow-up questions. What’s more, all these questions are still open for comment by any student 13 or older."
I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on the way I teach literacy in my classroom and about the ways that the digital text I often use to teach now is inherently different from the text I used to teach reading ten years ago.