What is the objective of our writing workshop?

The six levels of writing workshops at APLUS learning center seek to provide advanced instruction on the skills and the practice of writing. The workshops are designed with the ideals of the College Board’s Advanced Placement English courses in mind. The workshops help students read more challenging literature with greater skill, write more complex and mature compositions, develop independent analytical skills, and create disciplined study habits for continued academic success.

Compared with the English courses, offered at school, these workshops are more demanding, challenging and focused. A student who takes the full range of workshops will find that the skills taught and practiced in each workshop are cumulative.

What level does my child belong in?

Students are placed into levels based on the writing skills they demonstrat on our writing placement test, required of all newly enrolled students. The placement test focuses on writing and reading skills and usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

While students in a given workshop tend to be in the same grade, range, the most important thing they have in common is a shared mastery of similar reading and writing skills. Please see our course descriptions below for a more comprehensive understanding of core skills and lesson outcomes in each workshop level.

What are the topics covered in each level?

All workshops incorporate the following:

  • grammar

  • peer review

  • and vocabulary work.

  • reading comprehension and analysis

Each writing workshop is a one-year course, consisting of fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students are required to complete both fall and spring semesters of one level before they can take the next The summer semester is optional and exists to reinforce the work of the fall and spring semesters. Our workshops curricula are aligned with the learning outcomes of Montgomery County Public Schools and Maryland State Content Standards: Writing Content Standard 3.0 and Language Content Standard 4.0.

Pre Writing

Description: This is the entry-level workshop for many of our students. In this class, students will practice the writing process.

Core Skills: The core skills targeted in this workshop are completion of a paragraph (topic sentence, supporting sentences and a conclusion), use of editing symbols, and grammar fundamentals.

Grade Level: 4th – 5th grade, (3rd grade considered on a case-by-case basis)

Writing 1

Description: Students will read a short novel and exercise analytical skills.

Core Skills: Completion of a three-paragraph essay, multi genre readings, and vocabulary expansion.

Grade Level: 5th – 6th grade

Writing 2 A/B

Description: Students will practice writing a five-paragraph academic essay. Reading selections will be from several styles of writing, including prose and poetry. Students entering this class should be able to organize their ideas into unified paragraphs, use varied sentence patterns, make inferences using textual details, and demonstrate control over English conventions.

Core Skills: Understanding thesis, correct use of quotations, acquisition of literary analysis vocabulary, editing and revision.

Grade Level: 6th-8th grade

Writing 3

Description: Students are expected to have some mastery of the five-paragraph essay as well as some experience identifying literary stylistic devices. The Writing III student should be able to generalize and transfer themes from literature to observations about humanity. Reading selections will be drawn from the 16th century to the present and may include readings from past AP exams.

Core Skills: Creation of individual thesis statements, use of precise language with an awareness of connotative, figurative and symbolic meanings of words, and interpretation of textual evidence.

Grade Level: 8th – 9th grade

Writing 4

Description: This class is the final workshop in the series. Students entering Writing IV are expected to be able to write complex and mature prose, incorporate explanations of literary techniques and their effect into their essays, and demonstrate interpretive skills.

Core Skills: Critical analysis of various genres and, rhetorical argumentation and style analysis.

Grade Level: 9th – 10th grade