Organizationis the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the logical
and sometimes intriguing pattern of the ideas.
An effective piece of writing begins with an inviting introduction that
draws in or "hooks" the reader.The writer develops the ideas in a logical and effective order so that the reader hardly thinks about
it.The pacing is well controlled;
the writer knows when to slow down and elaborate, and when to pick up the pace and move on. The body is built withsupporting detailsthat fit where
they are placed.Thoughtful transitionsclearly show how ideas connect.Finally, the conclusion ties everything
/Inviting Introduction -hooks or grabs the reader
/Logical Sequencing- the order of the writing makes sense
/Smooth Transitions- link key points and ideas
/Good Pacing-gives information at just the right moment
/Conclusion- ties it all together and makes the writing feel
Organization supports the central idea (thesis). The order
and structure move the reader through the text easily. A. An interesting introduction draws the reader into the paper,
and a satisfying conclusion leaves the reader with a sense of resolution. B. Smooth, effective transitions exist among
all elements (sentences, paragraphs, and ideas). C. Organizational patterns are effective but unobtrusive. Paragraphing
is natural and appropriate.
Acceptable/3: Organization supports the central idea (thesis).
However, the order and structure do not readily move the reader through the text.. A. The introduction and conclusion are
present. B. Transitions are present but commonplace, inappropriate, or excessive. C. Organizational patterns are present
but predictable. Paragraphing is not consistently natural and appropriate.
Organization neither supports nor develops the central idea (thesis). The lack of order and structure detract from the reader¹s
understanding. A. The introduction and conclusion are not present. B. Transitions are nonexistent. C. Organizational
patterns are haphazard and disjointed. Paragraphing is not utilized or is misapplied.
Parts of the Whole
The following sentences come from a short story. They have been rearranged. Read them and decide what you think is
the correct order.
1.Again he heard the sound, and again.
2.He lunged for it; a short, hoarse cry came
from his lips as he realized he had reached too far and had lost his balance.
3.Somewhere, off in the blackness, someone
had fired a gun three times.
4.He leaped upon the rail and balanced himself
there, to get greater elevation; his pipe, striking a rope, was knocked from his mouth.
5." It's so dark," he thought, "that I could
sleep without closing my eyes; the night would be my eyelids--"
An abrupt sound startled him.
6.The cry was pinched off short as the blood-warm
waters of the Caribbean
Sea dosed over his head.
7.Off to the right he heard it, and his ears,
expert in such matters, could not be mistaken.
8.Rainsford, reclining in a steamer chair,
indolently puffed on his favorite brier.
9.Rainsford sprang up and moved quickly to
the rail, mystified.
10.The sensuous drowsiness of the night was
11.There was no sound in the night as Rainsford
sat there but the muffled throb of the engine that drove the yacht swiftly through the darkness, and the swish and ripple
of the wash of the propeller.
12.He strained his eyes in the direction from
which the reports had come, but it was like trying to see through a blanket.
Write the numbers of the sentences in the order you believe they should
The lead (beginning or introduction) establishes the direction your writing will take. A good lead grabs
your reader's attention and refuses to let go. In other words, it hooks the reader.
Read each of the following opening paragraphs. Evaluate
the lead. Which ones do you feel are the most effective and why?
1. Richard Connell's story "The Most Dangerous
Game," offering a tightly-knit narrative of adventure and melodramatic suspense, would seem a likely vehicle for cinematic
adaptation. Of the two main characters, one is ordinary, the other bizarre. The story does not involve much complexity of
consciousness; rather, it succeeds as entertainment, and it is therefore well-suited for the Hollywood
treatment that was to be made within eight years of its writing. The story was first published in 1924; in 1932 it was produced
as a motion picture for RKO by David.....
2. Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"
has thrilled readers since its first publication. In 1924, the year of its release, Connell was awarded the prestigious O.
Henry Memorial Award for short fiction. Readers and critics alike have consistently appreciated and enjoyed this story, even
as many of Connell's other stories, novels, and collections have fallen out of print. Critics initially praised the
story as an excellent action-adventure tale, a tightly told story that moves quickly through a nail-biting plot.Connell has been praised for the fluidity
of his simple writing style and his ability to entertain.
3. If you think gangsta rap, pierced navels, and pink hair
are the first teenage fads ever to shock a generation of parents, think again. After World War I (1914–1918), adults
took a hard look at the generation coming of age—and were frightened by what they saw. Girls called "flappers" flaunted short skirts (to the knee), short hair, and lots of makeup. Guys, known as "sheiks," wore huge, baggy pants and displayed
"fast" attitudes. Jazz music was hot. Dance parties lasted late into the night. And who knew what went on after hours. "Youthful
morals are being broken down," declared The Illinois Baptist magazine in 1922.
Marc lives in a sunny city in the southwestern United
States. After sunset, though, his parents will not let him ride his bike, jog to a friend's
house three streets away, or even walk his dog. Marc's parents say the neighborhood is too dark. One evening a neighbor was
robbed walking home from a bus stop. She could not describe the mugger, even though street lights line every block of her
route. Unfortunately, the lights are fitted with sodium-vapor lamps, and she could barely see in their dim, pinkish glow.
Marc's neighbor became a victim of the near-useless lamps that her city installed. The city is required by law to combat light
pollution with dimmer street lights. Actions taken by city and state legislators to prevent light pollution are well meant,
but so far they cause bigger problems than they solve. Until better solutions are found, prevention of light pollution should
not be required by law.
The poet John Donne wrote, "No man is an island, entire
of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main."
In terms of biodiversity (also called biological diversity), no living organism is an island. All life on
earth is bound together in one interdependent system. Biodiversity refers not only to every plant, animal, and microorganism, but also, on smaller and larger scales, to
their genes and to the ecosystems they form. When an individual species decreases or becomes extinct, the loss may be felt
on all three levels.
Imagine flying at 25,000 feet in an airplane that is forty
degrees below zero inside. It is so cold you have to wear a heated suit that plugs in like an electric blanket. To protect
your hands from frostbite, you wear three pairs of gloves that are also heated—silk inside of wool inside of leather.
You will have nothing to eat or drink during the ten-hour flight. To top it all off, your plane is being shot at because you
are on a dangerous mission during wartime. You have a death-defying job to do as a crew member in a B-17G, a plane so large
and powerful that it is called a "Flying Fortress."
Are you ready to give up your summer vacation and go to
school all year? Officials in some school districts are changing the school calendar. As a result, students are attending
classes during the summer and taking breaks at other times of year. As bizarre as this idea might sound, it does offer advantages.
A year-round schedule reduces school overcrowding, improves teachers’ lives, and helps students learn.
Traveling to space in an elevator sounds like a detail from
a science fiction novel, but someday it could be reality. The following article describes a new material which scientists
are using to invent the foundations for an elevator to space.
In 1841 the British scientist Robert Owen introduced the
word dinosaur into the English language by combining the Greek words for "terrible" and "lizard." He used it to describe
large bone fossils that had been discovered in southern England.
Before this discovery, scientists had no idea that enormous reptiles once existed. Since the nineteenth century, more than
one thousand species of dinosaurs have been identified. Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent. Yet scientists
still do not know what made the dinosaurs disappear. How could such massive creatures have simply vanished from the planet?
How does your lead establish the direction your writing will take?
My thoughts about leads: How
do effective leads help a writer communicate his/her message?
What do you need to do to improve on this skill in your own writing?
There are several ways to organize your writing. Not every pattern will work for every
writer or for every piece of writing. It is important to organize the writing in an order that is interesting, but more importantly
it must be logical. In other words, it has to make sense to the reader. Everything
must fit together, much like the pieces of a puzzle.
The examples that follow are only a paragraph in length and only
serve as short models of each pattern. However, the concept for each pattern is the same regardless of the length.
Chronological orderis the order in which the events occurred, from first
to last. This is the easiest pattern to write and to follow.
It seemed like an ordinary day when she got up that morning, but Lynda
was about to embark on the worst day of her life. First, she fell in the bathtub because her mother forgot to rinse out the
bath oil. Then she spilled orange juice on the outfit she had spent hours putting together for school pictures. When she changed,
she messed up the French braid her mother had put in her hair. As she walked out the door, she dropped all of her school books
and her math homework flew away. Once she made it to the car she thought everything would be all right. She was wrong; her
father didn't look before he backed out of the driveway and ran into the neighbor’s truck. Lynda’s side of the
car was damaged the most, and she ended up with a broken arm. That night, she cried herself to sleep.
Cause and Effect Order- In this type of order, the cause (or reason) is usually discussed first. This then
leads to a discussion of the effect (or result.)
Because toys have become electronic devices, some children today are
unable to entertain themselves. Gone are the days when children invented their own adventures and used sticks as swords. cookie
sheets as armor, and refrigerator box as a fortress to defend. The electronic age has delivered children all sorts of gadgets
and gizmos that are supposed to be realistic. Some toys even have buttons to push so prerecorded messages can be played to
begin scripted adventures that require no imagination. No imagination? No wonder some children today have short attention
Problem Solution Order- In this type of order, the problem is presented first. Details about
the problem, including its cause, follows. Next, a suggested solution will be discussed, including details that support the
Several students receive poor grades on writing assignments, not because
they lack the ability to communicate, but because they can not seem to manage their time when it comes to a large project.
They do not know where to begin, and therefore put things off until the last minute. To solve this problem, students need
to develop a timeline for completing the project. If they divide the assignment into manageable “chunks” or parts
and then set a schedule for completing each part, they will be able to finish the entire project before the deadline. Without
the pressure of not knowing where to begin, the students will be able to focus on the assignment and communicate their ideas
Spatial Order-This type of organization
takes the reader from one spot the next, as if the reader were looking at something. It is very descriptive.
believe my eyes when we finally emerged from the storm shelter. Where the barn once stood there was now only a few tufts of
hay. The path that led to the house was scattered with branches and debris. The house! The entire roof was gone. The north
wall was caved in and we could see right into the house. Well, what was left of it. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I noticed
that most of our belongings had been sucked up into the great vacuum and scattered across the countryside. We heard a loud
cracking and moaning as the west wall gave way and collapsed, sending up a wave of dust. And yet, there in the middle of the
front yard was mother’s prized rose bush. It swayed in the breeze as if nothing had happened. Seeing it made me realize
how lucky we were to be alive. We stood there in dismay, our arms locked around one another.
Order of Importance- This type of
organization takes the reader from the least important idea to the most important idea. The ideas build in importance, holding
the reader's attention. The best is saved for the last.
with nature became a learning experience for me. I learned to come prepared for anything. Our canoe overturning was proof
that anything could happen. All of our supplies were gone. I also learned that although nature is beautiful, she can also
be deadly. If it hadn’t been for the cave we discovered in the moonlight, the hail storm surely would have killed us.
Most of all, I learned to trust my mother. I never thought I would say this, but she does know a thing or two. She kept her
wits about her and kept me calm as well. Even in the middle of nowhere without any supplies, she still managed to take care
of me. Her grandfather had taught her how to survive in the wild, and she hadn’t forgotten a thing.
Reverse Order of Importance- In this type of
organization, the most important idea is stated first and the least important idea is stated last. This method is used most
often in newspaper articles. This way if the reader does not finish the article he/she will still know the most important
details. This method grabs the reader's attention in the beginning, but it does not work very will in holding the reader's
attention clear to the end.
A plan to improve
the city’s park was approved Monday night by the city council. The plan involves adding landscaping to the north end,
rebuilding the bridge over the lake, and updating the playground equipment. Funds for the project have been donated by local
businesses who hope that improving the park will bring more people to the downtown area which will in turn bring more customers.
The next order of business is for the city council to open the bidding process for the various improvements.
Process Order- In this type of order, a sequence
of actions is described. It instructs the reader on how to do something. It is basically a set of directions. Owner's manuals
and cookbooks are organized in this pattern.
The first step in redesigning your closet is take everything out and
sort through it. Anything you haven’t worn in over a year should be given to charity. Check garments for wear and tear.
Take care of anything that needs mending. If it is beyond repair, get rid of it. The second step is to install a closet organizer.
Choose one that will hold the different types of garments in your wardrobe. The third step is to put items in the closet so
that those you wear most often are easy to access. The final step is to stay organized. Put garments back in their appropriate
places so that you will be able to find them.
Classification Order-In this type of order,
the main idea is broken down into smaller areas or classifications. Each classification is then discussed.
There are four
basic modes of writing. Each mode may take different forms, but has a primary purpose. The first is expository writing, which
has a purpose of explaining something or giving directions. Providing directions to your house is an example. The second mode
is persuasive writing, which has a purpose of influencing the reader’s way of thinking. An advertisement is a an example
of persuasive writing. The third mode is descriptive writing, which has a purpose of providing vivid details so that the reader
can picture what is being presented. An essay that depicts the glorious Grand Canyon is an
example. The fourth mode is narrative writing, which has a purpose of presenting an experience in the form of a story. A personal
account of a vacation is an example of narrative writing.
Comparison/Contrast Order (Block)-In this pattern of organization, one item is discussed
in detail before the next item is mentioned. In other words, each item gets its own "block" of space within the writing.
As a child, I thought my parents were ignorant and out of touch with
reality. They couldn’t possible understand anything I thought or felt. When they weren’t annoying me with their
ridiculous lectures, or grounding me for minor infractions of the rules, they were embarrassing me in public. As a parent,
I find it frustrating that my children think I have no clue about their lives, even though I understand perfectly well what
they are thinking or feeling. I find myself giving my children the same lectures I once thought were ridiculous. My children
can not seem to follow the rules their father and I have set, and they are continuously embarrassing me in public. My, how
things have changed.
Comparison/Contrast Order (point by point)-This type of order is again based on comparison (the similarities)
and contrast (the differences.) Instead of being divided into parts, however, both sides of each point are discussed together.
Although they are sisters, Jennifer and Jessica are complete opposites.
Jennifer enjoys playing sports, while Jessica would rather watch. Jennifer has no interest in playing a musical instrument,
while Jessica is the first chair violinist. Jennifer listens to new age music, while Jessica prefers country. Jennifer’s
favorite subject is English, and Jessica’s favorite is math. Jennifer likes to curl up in a chair on a rainy day and
read a good book , but Jessica would rather sleep all day. No one would ever guess that they are actually twins.
Extend your Learning:Bring in examples of writing that illustrate any of these
patterns of organization. Identify the pattern.
Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your
paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. Transitional devices are words or phrases that
help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally,
transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.
Good transitions can connect
paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions
can help readers understand how paragraphs work together, reference one another, and build to a larger point. The key to producing
good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs. By referencing in one paragraph the relevant
material from previous ones, writers can develop important points for their readers.
Example: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel,
The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list. There are other things to note about Tan as well. Amy Tan
also participates in the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King and Dave Barry.
Revision: Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel,
The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list. Though her fiction is well known, her work with the satirical
garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders receives far less publicity.
It is a good idea to continue
one paragraph where another leaves off (instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't
belong together at all.) Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an
obvious progression for readers. Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Instead of writing transitions
that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph, write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph
to another specific paragraph.
Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way.
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor,
too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)
whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison,
where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast,
although this may be true
because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover,
besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To Show Exception:
yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while,
To Show Time:
immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly,
first (second, etc.), next, and then
in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted
definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively,
naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly,
undeniably, without reservation
To Show Sequence:
first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this
point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus,
therefore, hence, next, and then, soon
To Give an Example:
for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation,
take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate
To Summarize or Conclude:
in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I
have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently, on the whole
Activity 1: Add the transitions
below to the following sentences to make the ideas flow.
Finallyin conclusionto concludeto sum up
1. There were a lot
of problems discussed at the meeting. After a few hours, we were able to prioritize the problems in the order we want to solve
2. Many parents and
students have been complaining about the program. Scores on the end-of-grade tests have gone down from last year; teachers
are not very motivated; and everyone is frustrated. Some improvements in the middle school program need to be made.
3. I want to wish
you all a very happy holiday season.
4. There was a malfunction
in the smoke machines and lights, the curtains would not open and close properly, and one of the actors was sick with no stand-in.
The play was a disaster.
second, third, ... furthermore in addition moreover
also and another besides
little girl put on her yellow shirt and brown overalls.
is on the basketball team this semester at IndianaSchool for the Deaf. He is on the soccer
will be here for one more week so we can finish up our work. We are staying longer is because we do not want to miss the Deaf Way conference.
a half-cup of milk in the bowl; add two eggs; and stir the mixture.
admire I. King Jordan because he is the first deaf president of Gallaudet. I admire him because he is a great long distance
runner. He is a dedicated family man. All in all, there is not much to dislike about the man, except he is too perfect!
6.Crystal likes camping in the mountains. Crystal is an experienced hiker.
7.TexasSchool for the Deaf is perfectly located. It has a strong academic program.
The school has a preschool program where both deaf and hearing children learn together.
1. At St. Rita School for
the Deaf, a private school, there is a dress code that mandates how the students are to dress. The boys must wear a pair of
pants and dress shirts. The strict dress code requires plaid skirts and blouses for the girls.
2. Her grandmother, Sally loves the Gallaudet Homecoming football
3. The news reported that Montana
would be very cold this week. I said, " Rochester will be,
4. Ronda bought a new Saturn car; so the rest of her friends
did the same thing.
N.C. is much smaller than Washington,
6. Bob loves to go to parties. Sue loves to stay at home with
7. Seven years ago when the printer worked well, it has been
"ill" a great deal of the time in recent weeks.
although but however in
contrast in spite of nevertheless
than though unlike yet
am not able to go to the beach with you. Thanks for asking me.
cat, Salem is so unlike .
likes to nap a lot and Salem
likes to play a lot.
idea of attending the play at Gallaudet is nice. The Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research conference is scheduled
at the same time.
eat green beans because they are healthy, I hate them.
was extremely tired, he washed the dishes.
play was great. I am sick of seeing it for the fourth time.
Sharon, and Megan went to BuschGardens
for the day. __________the cold weather, they enjoyed themselves.
and Megan enjoyed the Loch Ness Monster ride. Amber thought that Alpengist was
faster and had more twists.
9.Sharon has not visited the Land of the Dragons. If she
had had a kid, she would have gone by now.
Graham Bell believed in oral education for deaf children. Edward Minor Gallaudet believed in using American Sign Language
to educate deaf children.
Activity 2- Read the following two articles. Add transitions
where they are needed to improve the flow of ideas.
Students will pay the price for
By Kurt Schauppner The Desert Trail
Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
PALMS — Twenty-nine Palms High School students who enjoyed two days without school because of a snowstorm in December
will pay for them with two extra school days, including one the day after graduation.
This is according to information
sent via fax from Twenty-nine Palms High School last week.
Because of the second extra day, seniors who attend graduation
ceremonies on Thursday, June 11 and then go to Grad Night at Disneyland will be returned
to school on Friday, June 12, a minimum day, and will be expected to remain there until
Seniors who do not take part in Grad Night will still need to return to school on Friday to collect
their diplomas. For other students Thursday and Friday, June 11 and 12, both minimum days ending at , also will be final exam days.
A parent conference day previously set for Friday,
March 20 has been canceled so school can be held that day.
Two new parent conference days have been set, one from
to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 2 and the other from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14 to make up for the canceled conference.
to Woods, the snow make-up days were selected by the district and are included in the section of the district’s contract
with teachers dealing with the school calendar.
In the event of days lost to snow, she said, the first day is made
up by canceling a parent conference day. Additional snow days are made up by adding days to the end of the school year.
noted that Basin schools on the west end, which saw more school days canceled because of the December snowstorm, will see
more extra days added.
Parents, she noted, have been sent letters advising them of the need to stay in town until after
Friday, June 12.
“Don’t make those plane reservations,” she said.
Seniors, she added, will
return to the school around mid-morning June 12. They will pick up their diplomas and collect any transcripts they may need.
They will probably only be at school for about an hour.
Other MorongoUnifiedSchool District schools
on the east side, including MonumentHigh
School and Twenty-nine Palms Junior High, will also have snow make-up days on March 20 and
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK — A 67-year old Riverside
man died and his 44-year-old climbing partner was severely injured Sunday afternoon when they fell while climbing in the HiddenValley area
of Joshua Tree National Park. Curtis Woodrow Stark II of Riverside
and Alfred Kuok of Claremont were climbing a rock formation
known as The Great Burrito about , park Chief of Interpretation
Joe Zarki said Monday.
Zarki said Stark, who was in the lead, began losing his grip on the rocks. He began to descend
the rock face but lost his grip and fell.
Zarki said as Stark fell, he lost the protective devices he had installed
on his way up and crashed into Kuok, who also lost his grip on the rock.
Kuok’s protective devices held, but
Stark plummeted about 100 feet.
Zarki said Stark, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered severe head injuries
and died instantly.
Two firefighters from Joshua Tree were also climbing in the area and responded, helping the younger
man off the cliff face, Zarki said.
Kuok was treated for back pain, rib injuries and possible internal injuries before
being flown by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department helicopter to DesertRegionalMedicalCenter
in Palm Springs for treatment.
Zarki said four rangers
and nine volunteer Joshua Tree Search and Rescue team members responded to the emergency.
This week, Stark’s
friends remembered him as a man who simply loved to climb and commanded respect for his love of the sport despite age and
“I wouldn’t say he was reckless, but he was a go-for-it guy, and a lot of climbers in their 60s
are not go-for-it type of dudes,” said climbing buddy Todd Gordon of Joshua Tree.
The climbing world knew Stark
as “Woody,” and he had climbed in Asia, South
America, Alaska and most of the western United States.
Gordon said Stark was a retired schoolteacher and voracious
reader: “His house was filled with bookcases and next to the bookcases were more books piled to the ceiling.”
father of two, Stark had a wide circle of friends and did mountaineering and ice climbing, in which he would scale frozen
The Joshua Tree community knew him as a pioneer. “He’s a little bit of an icon, because in
the 1960s, when Joshua Tree wasn’t much of a climbing area, he and his friends were some of the first ones to do some
of the climbs, and now they’re some of the most famous and popular climbs in the world,” Gordon said.
was an old-fashioned climber, his friend said.