Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tips for Sequencing When Reading and Writing

Yellow note cards for sequencing when writing

One good thing about using a computer when you're writing is that you can cut and paste sentences and paragraphs to move them to different locations in your manuscripts. 

Even though a writer may have outlined the plot of the story, the sequence of events can rearrange themselves when you least expect it. That usually happens to me when one of my characters takes over the novel and leads me down a path I did not expect to follow.

I have found that a stack of 3x5 cards comes in handy when I am writing fiction. I name the day and time that the action occurs at the top of the card and write a sentence describing the key action that occurs in each scene. 

Later, after I am well into the novel, if I need to rearrange the sequence of events, I can do so by shuffling the cards into the proper order. When I am sure that I have the sequence exactly as I want it to be, I can begin to cut and paste on the computer and move chapters or scenes around without the risk of becoming confused.

If your students need help with sequencing when they read or write, have them use 3x5 cards as an easy way to arrange the order of events. I found this method especially helpful while students are reading difficult material. 

While reading fiction, they could write the plot points on cards and then arrange them in order to see the exposition and rising action, and more easily determine the climax, the falling action, and the denouement.

When reading nonfiction, students could begin with the author and the title on the first 3x5 card. Then on separate cards, they can write the chapter titles and notes on the content of that chapter. Let them find a direct quotation in each chapter that they might choose to use later in a speech or report.

In my creative writing classes, I had students keep a stack of cards beside them while they were writing. Here's a FREE lesson that would help students when they are doing narrative writing. Click here to grab it.

A thumbnail image depicting a free creative writing resource.

Students may enjoy another creative writing lesson with which they'll have fun choosing a scenario to plot a mystery story. Click here to read the description in my store.

I spent the summer months creating new distance learning lessons and updating the Middle School and Elementary and ESL editions of Simple Steps to Sentence Sense. Now, they can be used in GOOGLE Drive™. I finished just in time for the back to school shopping.

Whether you are in the classroom or teaching virtually, I know that you will be as awesome as ever because that's just what teachers are. Stay safe and well this year.

Thanks for reading,


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