I'm teaching a writing class for homeschooled teens this year. I'm really excited (and a little nervous). I poured over all of my writing books for essential texts I wanted them to read. What I ended up choosing surprised me.
These kids aren't necessarily striving to be fiction writers. Many of them aren't striving to be writers at all. Most of them will probably be there because their parents are forcing them, so my goals are pretty simple:
1) To help them learn how to think like a writer
2) To develop within them an energy for writing—the beginning of passion
3) To help them feel creative, powerful, and strong as they write
I also feel like the goals of any kind of writing are the same:
1) To communicate an idea
2) To convince your audience
3) To capture your audiences attention (and possibly heart)
With those things in mind, I chose these two books:
The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life by Twyla Tharp
A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman.
Neither of these were books I planned on choosing. I still can't believe I did, but after looking over everything, I decided I wanted books to inspire. Twyla Tharp's book is nothing but inspirational and encouraging. It is also full of ways to embrace creativity and make any project your own—autonomous.
I am opposed to the serious study of grammar before a love of writing is firmly in hand. So why would I pick a punctuation book?
This book shows how punctuation is a tool to empower the writer. It is also chock full of fabulous examples of great writing. It is not about grammar. It's about flow.
If anyone else has any great ideas for texts, I'd love to hear them. I think I'll post my first lesson plan here, just to remember it!