Week 5: ESL Writing Lessons

This week the ESL students will continue to practice paragraph writing. This week we will change our focus a little and start writing summary paragraphs.

A Thought

Many things are happening here on the Korean peninsula. Not much good news, actually. The troubles between the two Koreas reminds me of a line from a famous book.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

ESL SUMMARY WRITING

A summary is a paragraph that includes the main ideas of another person’s speaking or writing. Usually, you don’t write about your ideas. You want to retell what the writer said but use different words. Writing a summary is a very good skill to have, especially for school and work. But needs a lot of practice.

Your first summary writing assignment is to read a short story and then write a one paragraph summary. For this summary, you should include all the reasons that make the animal a special bug.

COMMENTS ON STUDENT SUMMARY WRITING

Problems with plural forms.

  • x   These are the reason why pill bugs are special.
  • o   These are the reasons why pill bugs are special.

Not enough pronouns.

  • x   When a pill bug raise her young, the pill bug carries her bay in a pouch under her belly.
  • o   When a pill bug raises her young, it carries her bay in a pouch under her belly.

Bad Pronouns

  • x   …. because they roll up into a tight ball to protect itself.
  • o   …. because they roll up into a tight ball to protect themselves.

Repeated word in a sentence (use a synonym).

  • x   A pill bug is a very peculiar bug because it’s similar to a kangaroo, snake and owl.
  • o   A pill bug is a very peculiar insect because it’s similar to a kangaroo, snake and owl.

Don’t use because to start a sentence.

  • x   A pill bug is a special bug. Because it is like a kangaroo, snake, owl and earthworm.
  • o   A pill bug is a special insect because it is like a kangaroo, snake, owl and earthworm.

Word problems. Learn these words and phrases.

  • These are the reasons why …
  • That is similar to …
  • during the day
  • during the night
  • find versus look for
  • grow versus raise

HOW TO WRITE A SUMMARY PARAGRAPH

  1. Read the story.
  2. What is the main idea? Here is a hint. In this story, what makes the bug special?
  3. What are the main supporting ideas?
  4. Make a bullet list of your ideas and keywords.
  5. Think about synonyms and pronouns.
  6. Write the first draft. Write a paragraph in the style that we have studied inc class (i.e. a thesis sentence with three to five supporting ideas and a conclusion).

ESL WRITING REVIEW

The quiz and mid term exam are coming soon for the writing class students. Now is a good time to review what we have done so far. This review will help you prepare for quiz and exam.

  1. The ESL students learned a few writing tools with a writing worksheet.
  2. We did several editing exercises, like this worksheet, and this one and this one.
  3. The English class learned about the proper use of apostrophes.
  4. We learned and practiced using articles with this articles lesson worksheet.
  5. We learned how to write sentences with during and while, with a writing exercise about a dog and some sausages, and here.
  6. The English students completed a lesson about a new paragraph writing style and did some more practice with these ESL writing prompts.
  7. We learned and practiced parallel structure with topic sentences.
  8. We learned about and practiced fixing choppy and run on sentences.
  9. We looked at a simple paragraph and then added some details by asking a few basic questions in this writing lesson.

ESL SUMMARY WRITING EXERCISE

Here is a new ESL writing worksheet. Read the story and then wrote a one paragraph summary.

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