It’s that time again folks. Labor Day is here and your son or daughter has yet to write a book report on a book he or she read this summer. You asked your son or daughter to begin the report and not leave it for the last minute, but he or she was too busy with summer camp and friends. The last thing you want to do is use up your quality time off from work to write the book report that your child is supposed to write independently. The question is – what is the most efficient way to help your child get this assignment done so it does not consume the entire holiday weekend?
The answer is using the Teaching Basic Writing Skills Multiple Paragraph Outline by Judy C. Hochman. Since you also don’t have time to take a course right now on writing a Multiple Paragraph Outline according to this program, I am going to outline it here!
You may be asking, how is a simple outline going to help my child? Well, the outline guides your child through the process providing a clear diagram of the entire work instead of beginning to write from scratch. I promise you that using an outline your child will produce a more successful composition that is consistent, organized and includes all the elements the book report requires.
There are three parts to the outline, corresponding to the three paragraphs. The title of this column on the left side of the outline is “Main Idea.” The subtitles under this column are 1. Introduction, 2. Plot Summary, and 3. Opinion. The column on the ride side of the outline is titled: “Details.” On this side of the column, your child is not writing sentences, but rather short fragments or phrases to represent the details.
Now, let’s talk about what details go into each section. In the introduction section, your child should include the title of the text, the author, and the setting. If necessary, this would be the place to include a thesis statement. Remember, since this is an outline, your child should not write in complete sentences, but rather using phrases and fragments for the details.
In the plot summary section, your child should focus on the main idea, and the five question words: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Simply put, your child just has to be able to answer these questions in order to be include sufficient details for the second paragraph of the book report.
In the last section of the outline, entitled the opinion section, your child will elaborate on the audience answering who and why. In addition, since this the opinion section, your child should state his or her opinion on the books in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.
Once the outline is complete, you can send your child off to complete the paragraphs independently by taking the details in the form of phrases and fragments and put them into complete sentences. Now you may resume your regular enjoyment of Labor Day Weekend.
By Brittany Cogan, Reading Specialist