I was recently told
about the Little
writing method and form of writing instruction, which
was started at the University of Chicago in the 1980s. I was surprised I hadn’t
heard of it before.
“LRS is an approach to
writing instruction that proceeds from several core principles:
• Readers come to any
text with a fairly predictable set of questions and expectations. (These
expectations vary somewhat according to the community or discipline: literary
critics v. behavioral psychologists v. political scientists.)
• Effective writing
anticipates and responds to these predictable questions and expectations.
• In order to produce
effective writing, good writers employ a fairly predictable set of routines in
order to plan, draft, revise, and edit.
• Students who come to
understand readerly expectations and writerly routines produce more persuasive
arguments more efficiently.
• Most students
already have good intuitions about what readers want and what writers do: our
job is to help them articulate and define those intuitions, so that they can
more consciously control their writing.
• Our teaching begins
with intuition then proceeds to the principle.
• Students learn
routines best by "over-learning" them; that is, by practicing until
the routines are internalized and students can produce them with minimal
effort. Because reading and writing are complicated tasks, it's best to break
them down into manageable pieces, or sub-routines, for students.
• Once students are
comfortable with the routine, they can learn and practice techniques for
manipulating their writing to produce a range of effects.”
It sounds quite basic
and sensible, and worth looking into for anyone who writes and/or teaches