Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up

Essay Writing: Teaching The Basics From The Ground Up

by Jock Mackenzie
Pembroke Publishers, 2007
ISBN 978-1-55138-210-4
$23.95, 96 pp, reproducible pages, index, adult

Just as the book reviewed above is a “from the classroom” resource that emphasizes basic literacy skills for K – Grade 2 students, Essay Writing arises from years of classroom experience, but focuses instead on the basics of essay writing for middle and junior high school students. The skills needed for essay writing are seen by the author as the same skills needed to write a speech, make a point, formulate a persuasive argument, explain an idea—skills necessary in life—and so it is worthwhile to teach the basics essential for success. The essay is clearly defined as five to seven paragraphs of prose intended to express a point of view or to persuade the reader to accept a thesis. The structure of an essay is equally clearly defined as a short introductory paragraph, three to five paragraphs forming the body of the essay which develop the chosen topic, and a one paragraph conclusion. With these parameters firmly established, the writing of the components of an essay can be taught systematically, ensuring that students understand the building blocks before they are asked to write a complete essay. Jock Mackenzie writes in an upbeat, conversational style and illustrates his points with anecdotes from his teaching years, making this an enjoyable read and a blueprint for effective teaching of a relevant skill.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s March 2009 issue.

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