From Assignments to Applications! Every year, high school English teachers are bombarded with requests for advice on how to write successful college application essays. Often, they wonder if they are really offering the most effective assistance. Mary Jane Reed divides the components of good narrative writing into different chapters (discovering a topic, voice, the importance of details, revision) that you can use to help your students with the skills that they need to focus on. But she also gives information vital for helping you help your students write essays that will get them into the schools of their choice. Much of the information is tailored specifically for teachers with students who are working on college-application essays, but all of it can be customized to help any student with their narrative writing.
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Mary Jane Reed's vast teaching and consulting experience and her personal commitment not only to assist students get into college but also become better writers is evident throughout her book. This is an ideal tool for high school teachers and guidance counselors and a highly effective guide for parents, students and anyone who wants to improve his writing style and ability to communicate through a personal narrative. By identifying questions that a student may encounter on a college application and discussing who will read the student's essays, the book begins with clear guidance on how to become comfortable with the writing process. Next, Reed introduces a unique and extremely effective writing process including instruction on choosing a topic that will engage the reader and hints on 'grabbing' and 'plopping' the reader into the action at the start of the narrative. She then demonstrates how to write and polish a personal narrative by using techniques like carefully crafting transitions, accomplishing an effective voice to convey rhythm, and relaxing grammar to create a contemporary tone. Reed also introduces techniques designed to 'show' readers rather than tell them about a subject, 'activate' a draft, and revise a narrative until it becomes a polished, finished product. This book will exceed the reader's expectations through handouts and transparencies (in the text and on an attached CD), checklists, exercises and numerous examples at each stage of the writing process. Also, Reed frequently turns to teachers and guidance counselors to show them how to coach a student without actually making revisions for him, use one-on-one conferences through a three-stage process and write strong, convincing letters of recommendation. The reader can adopt the entire process from developing a topic to polishing a near-finished narrative or use parts of the process like adding details to 'show' the reader or shortening a narrative to meet word or page requirements. Overall, high school teachers and guidance counselors, parents and students and anyone who wants to improve his narrative writing style will benefit from this clearly written, well organized, easy to understand guide.