What's in a Word | All Blogs


Try and try again

By Debra Dobbins

I found Zoe, well, a bit trying in today’s Baby Blues (one of The Daily Sentinel’s new comics).

Zoe needs to take a time-out and reflect on writers’ workshop rules. One rule is someone who reads another’s essay always offers positive comments on some aspect of the essay and helpful suggestions on how to improve it.

An essay can always be improved, and, contrary to what Zoe thinks, all writers can do better.

A great approach to improving an essay is to judge it according to these six traits: ideas, sentence fluency, organization, conventions, word choice and voice.

I wish I had learned about the six traits of writing much, much earlier, because they really do help to polish up essays. Try googling “six traits” or ask your teacher for more information on them.

The word “essay,” by the way, is similar to a French word meaning “to try.” When we write essays, we try to put our thoughts down well enough so that others may easily read them and understand them. Often we have to try and try again. In other words, we have to revise our writing, but the process is well worth it. Good writing reflects good thinking, and in this day and age we need all the good thinking we can get.

For the other three new comic strips, see The Daily Sentinel’s print edition or e-edition.

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