Module 3 Readings - Read About Prewriting


Many writers cite getting started as one of the most difficult steps of the writing process. It is not unusual for writers to experience mental blocks and often make comments like “I just don’t know where to begin.” Some mental blocks even occur after the writing begins and evident in comments like “I don’t know what to write next.” There are several prewriting techniques that can help you think about your topics and help you overcome mental blocks.


They include freewriting, questioning, making a list, clustering or mapping, and preparing a scratch outline.




Module 3 Discussions - Practice Prewriting Techniques (PART 1) APA FORMAT


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Now that you have seen the prewriting techniques illustrated, this is an opportunity for you to apply a couple of the techniques to the comparison or contrast paragraph assignment. When writers construct a comparison paragraph, they show how two things are the same; when they construct a contrast paragraph, they focus on how two things are different.


Writing Assignment: Select a topic for a comparison and contrast paragraph from page 241 in your textbook. In this assignment, you will use one of two common methods for developing comparison and contrast paragraphs and essays: 1) one side at a time or 2) point-by- point.


For this activity, complete the following steps:


1.    Select a topic.  


2.    Decide whether you will compare or contrast the two subjects.


3.    Draft a tentative topic sentence for a paragraph that will compare or contrast your two subjects.


4.    Brainstorm for ten minutes using one of these prewriting techniques: freewriting, questioning, listing, or clustering.


5.    Brainstorm for another ten minutes using a different prewriting technique from the one completed in Step 4.


6.    In one or two sentences, explain which prewriting technique you preferred and why.


7.    Post your prewriting activity in this discussion.


Post your practice prewriting early in the week. During the week, check the discussion daily so you can provide thoughtful feedback and critique at least two of your classmates' postings.




Module 3 Discussions - Develop a Scratch Outline (PART 2)


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In this activity, you will develop a Scratch Outline for your Comparison/Contrast paragraph.


Using your tentative topic sentence from the previous section, continue to develop your paragraph by creating a Scratch Outline.


Follow these steps:


1.    Review the feedback received in Activity 3.2.


2.    Revise your topic sentence if necessary.


3.    Generate three strong points to support your topic sentence.


4.    Under each of these points, list as many supporting details as possible.


5.    Create a scratch outline, as illustrated on pages 25-27 of the textbook, and post it in this discussion.


During the week, you are required to provide feedback and critique at least two of your classmates' postings.


Note: Save this outline for your next activity.




Module 3 - Compose a First Draft of a Comparison/Contrast Paragraph (PART 3)


·         Now that you have experimented with the prewriting techniques and developed a scratch outline, you are ready to write the first draft of the Comparison/Contrast paragraph.


Read “Writing a First Draft” pages 27-27 for additional information.


Your paragraph should contain the following:


  • Approximately 150-200 words

  • A well-developed topic sentence

  • Adequate detail to support the topic sentence

    Note: Use the “Checklist for Comparison/Contrast,” page 244, when writing your paragraph.

    You will be using this document in the next module. Save it with any name you would like, but the course will refer to the document as the Comparison/Contrast paragraph.


    Module 3 Readings - Read About Revising and Editing (PART 4)

    The writing process does not stop once a first draft is crafted. A well-written document is one that is concise, adequately developed, clearly organized, and free of sentence errors. When you revise, you improve your writing by modifying your words for content and for effective sentence structure. Just remember, "The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile” (Robert Cormier, American author, 1925-2000).

    The last major step in the writing process is editing. It goes beyond a simple spell check. When you edit, you carefully proofread for errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

    Read more about the revision and editing processes from your textbook and Purdue website:

    Chapter 2 - "The Writing Process," pages 29-34
    Chapter 5 - "The Fourth Step in Writing," pages 111-130
    Chapter 7 - "Writing in the Digital Age," pages 168-173

    The Owl at Purdue: Proofreading Your Writing (Links to an external site.) 

    View the presentations:


  • Chapter 2Preview the documentView in a new window (PDF) - This is the same presentation from Activity 3.1. This time, concentrate on slides 12 through 21.

  • Chapter 5Preview the documentView in a new window (PDF)

  • Chapter 7Preview the documentView in a new window (PDF)


    Module 3 Discussions - Peer Review to Improve Writing (PART 5)

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    Peer review is one more tool for improving writing. Even the most veteran writers benefit from the constructive feedback of others; your peers can give you different perspectives because they do not have the same emotional attachment to your writing as you do. Peers can provide valuable comments and suggestions on your writing’s strengths and weaknesses that you can use to revise your work.

    For this activity, complete the following steps:


1.    Post the first draft of a Comparison/Contrast paragraph which you created for Activity 3.4 in this discussion.


2.    Read at least three of your classmates’ Comparison/Contrast paragraphs and provide constructive feedback. The comments from the class need to be distributed so everyone receives reviews.


3.    Review using the questions given as guidance:


    • Is there a clear opening topic sentence?

    • Does the opening sentence accurately reflect the content of the paragraph?

    • Is there specific support for the topic sentence?

    • Is there adequate support for the topic sentence?

    • Is there a clear method of organization, one side at a time or point-by-point?

    • Did you use a consistent point of view in your paragraph?

    • Are your sentences varied and balanced?

    • Have you checked for mistakes in grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling?


  1. Provide the following feedback: Explain the one thing you found most effective and why. Suggest one thing that you would change and why.

    Module 3 - Compose a Final Draft of a Comparison/Contrast Paragraph (PART 6)

    Now that you have provided your feedback, review the input you have received for your paragraph. Finish the revision and editing process and submit your final draft.


Your Comparison/Contrast paragraph should contain:


  • Approximately 150-200 words

  • A well-developed topic sentence

  • Adequate and specific detail to support the topic sentence

  • A clear method of organization

  • A consistent point of view

  • Varied and balanced sentences

    Note: Use the “Checklist for Comparison or Contrast,” page 244, when revising and editing your paragraph. Complete the assignment in a document. Make sure your name is on your document and the file.



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