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ď     Writing ď



"Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.
Who has taught (the writing) by the pen."

 [96: 3-4]


On this page:

Writing Instruction Tips

Composition Aids

Penmanship Aids



Writing Instruction Tips


Though the names may vary, there are basically five steps to the writing process:


1. Pre Writing

2. Writing

3. Revising

4. Proofreading

5. Publishing


Prewriting is the stage where the writer gathers and organizes ideas.  A writer may prewrite using some of the following methods:

  • Making lists.
  • Conducting research.
  • Formal or informal reading.
  • Interviews.
  • Brainstorming.
  • Webbing, clustering, or use of graphic organizers.
  • Outlining.
  • Remembering
  • Drawing.
  • Discussion.
  • Free writing, notebook or journal writing.
  • Note taking.

Prewriting is an important step of writing. It should not be skipped or cut short.  I typically tell my students that after prewriting using some sort of graphical organizer and then writing a good outline, the paper practically "writes itself."

Writing is the stage where the writer, using his prewriting materials, gets his thoughts down on paper. Many feel that at this stage, the writer should write and not worry too much about mechanics or style or organization or anything other than getting everything down on paper as quickly and as easily as possible.

The writer turns sketches, notes, and ideas into sentences and paragraphs at this point. The writer should have a "recognizable" beginning, middle, and end.

Tips for the writing stage include:

  • Double spacing the draft so you have room to add editing marks
  • Before you write, determine who the audience is.  Establishing your audience before you write, will make your writing easier as you can write “to that audience.”

  • Sometimes writers may put down their work for a day or two before moving on to revising.


During the revision stage, the writer may also want

 to get a response from a reader.

Writers usually go through three stages of revision:

Adding on. This is the easiest kind of revision to accomplish. After hearing from readers, writers often realize they have left out important details.

Moving around. As the writer adds more materials, ideas may begin to "bump" into each other or interact in unforeseen ways. Getting things in the right order becomes more and more important.

Cutting out. This is the hardest thing to do, but it is often the most valuable. By this point the writer may have accumulated far more material than he originally planned.


At this point, the writer focuses on mechanics: grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc. This is the point in the process where traditional editing occurs. Grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling and minor text changes (word choice, formatting) are, ideally, the only work the paper should need at this point.


Ideally no changes of any kind occur at this point except those that affect presentation. Keep in mind, who your audience is and what the best form is for presenting your writing.

Publication can take many forms, including:

  • posting in classroom/study area
  • submitted for formal publication to a magazine, etc.
  • read out loud
  • collected in a portfolio or web gallery
  • email to a relative


Some methods of teaching writing include giving a writing assignment the first day of the week and alloting a day for each stage of the writing process. 



Ideally, the homeschool writing teacher will walk the student through each step with each assignment until the writer is comfortable on his/her own. Writing isn't a skill that comes naturally for many people and, like other skills, is best learned with continual, guided practice.  We can't expect children to become good writers by assigning a writing assignment and wait for  them to turn in a great piece of writing at the end of the week without any guidance.



How do I actually teach writing?


Use the above 5 stage writing process model, walking your writer through each step.


What types of assignments should I assign?

Real life writing assignments are the most valuable types of writing assignments because, after all, that is the purpose of teaching writing--for real life use. You will probably want to expose your student to as many types of writing as you can. Keep in mind the purposes of writing: to inform, to entertain,  to persuade, to describe, etc.

Below is a list of real writing assignments you might try. You may try to draw assignments from things you are studying in other subjects such as history, literature, science, Islamic studies, etc.

compiled from a variety of resources:


arrest warrant


biographical sketch


book/movie review

business letter

commercial script


cover letter

declaration of war


descriptive writing

dictionary entry



eviction notice

friendly letter

game review

greeting card

how to article

humorous essay

job application

job manual

journal entry

inspection analysis


letter of complaint

letter of recommendation

love letter

menu description



news article

newscaster script



personal narrative

persuasive essay

picture book story




problem/solution essay

product evaluation

product jingle

public announcement

reader response log


rejection letter

research paper

restaurant/food review



scene for a TV/radio show


short story



survey results analyzed

survival story

technical support manual

thank you note


travel log


Before assigning these or other types of writing, try to show your student good examples of the particular writing format so that they know what one looks like and how it is written.



Below is a sample writing "curriculum" that I  have compiled.

My approach was to rotate back and forth between the four categories, i.e. one week descriptive writing, say write about a person, the next week, expository-compare two things, the next week, persuasive writing, and so forth, cycling between the four categories.

Keep completed assignments in a portfolio or web gallery. Children usually love to go back and read completed work and you can also share it with others.

        I.      Descriptive Writing

a.       Person (e.g. describe the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam)

b.       Place (e.g. the Kabah)

c.       Thing

d.       Menu descriptions

     II.      Expository Writing

a.       Compare/Contrast (two things)

b.       Process/procedure/how to

                                                               i.      How to perform something (e.g. wudhu, salat)

                                                             ii.      How to make something (craft, recipe, etc.)

                                                            iii.      Manual

                                                           iv.      Survey results analysis

c.       Directions

d.       letters

                                                               i.      friendly

                                                             ii.      business

                                                            iii.      letter of complaint, recommendation

e.       research report

f.        reaction (e.g. to current events)

g.       summary

h.       response to literature

i.         Preface/forward to a book

j.        News article

k.       interview

   III.      Persuasive Writing

a.       Opinion

                                                               i.      Book review

                                                             ii.      Restaurant review

                                                            iii.      Game review

                                                           iv.      Opinion on an issue (editorial)

                                                             v.      Product evaluation

                                                           vi.      Letter of recommendation

                                                          vii.      Job application/cover letter

b.       Influence reader’s thinking (e.g. advertisement, billboard)

    IV.      Narrative

a.       Personal narrative

b.       Short story

c.       Dialogue


Composition Aids

Writing Aids

Where do I start?

A handy chart of ideas to use for prewriting activities using the 5Ws and How.

Great Beginnings (NEW!)

Having trouble coming up with an interesting beginning

for your paragraph, essay, report?

Ideas on how to begin a piece of writing, plus examples.


Writing Descriptive Sentences (NEW!)

Use this activity on a regular basis to improve sentence writing.

This has been a very effective activity for helping my children write better sentences. 

We use this on a weekly basis with vocabulary words from anywhere.



Tips for Writing a Five Sentence Paragraph (NEW!)

Walk through writing a five sentence paragraph, includes proofreading checklist.


The Writing Game:

Use this activity to walk through the steps of the writing process

to complete writing assignments.


The Writing Game Cards:

Cards to use with The Writing Game. Can be used separately as a writing handbook.


Other visual aids that I have made: ( I hope to post soon, insha Allah:) We either compile them in a binder or post on the wall.

When my students are writing, I strongly encourage them to use them as much as they can. Eventually they will not need to use them as they tend to internalize the different tips, rules, etc.


Writing Checklist

Proofreading Checklist

Punctuation Rules

Interesting Words

Capitalization Rules

Effective sentences (word choice, sentence structure)

Transitional/Terminal Words

Compare/Contrast Helping Words

Sequence Transition words

Number words

Example conclusions

Example topic sentences

Example graphic organizers

Signal words (similar to transitional words)

Paragraph Structure (paragraph stoplight)



Penmanship Aids

Worksheets created for writing practice.

 All but one have an Islamic theme or mini–Islamic lesson.

Alphabet & Word Practice

M is for Masjid


Word Practice


5 Daily Prayers

(bonus mini Islamic lesson)


Sentence Practice

The Kabah is My Qiblah

(bonus mini Islamic lesson)




Paperdictation paper


Dictation/Spelling Paper


Primary lined; words and sentences.

Secondary (older students)






Islamic Copywork Paper

Islamic Copywork Paper











This page last updated:

Friday, October 27, 2006


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