Disclaimer: I am a Classical Conversations Challenge A Director.  I am not writing this post from the perspective of a director but from the perspective of a homeschooling mother with a child with dyslexia, an educational therapist, licensed teacher (Association of Christian Schools International and private school teacher license from the State of Pennsylvania), and education researcher.  I am writing about my experiences and how I use this curriculum with my child.

The Lost Tools of Writing is a great writing curriculum for most individuals.  The writing begins by having learners read a story. Then the learner must choose an issue from the story to develop his or her persuasive essay.  Next, the learner will create an ANI (Affirmative, Negative, and Interesting) Chart during the first week.  These are the details of the story.  Then an outline is developed the following week.  During the last week, the essay is written.  This seems like a fairly straightforward and easy process.  However, this is not so for a child with dyslexia.

During the second essay, the details of the ANI chart are sorted into groups, and the outline form is expanded.  Here is the trouble with children with dyslexia and LTW…it’s details first.  Individuals with dyslexia are big-picture thinkers.  They typically cannot begin with the small details and build up to the larger picture.  They must begin with the larger picture and work down to the details. 

I modify LTW in these steps:

  1. Read the book and note anything interesting
  2. Add the interesting things to the interesting column
  3. Choose an issue and write the thesis statement
  4. Choose 3 proofs
  5. Develop the portion of the ANI chart that represents the stance you took in your thesis. 
  6. Develop the portion of the ANI chart that is opposite of your issue. (These can literally be the opposite of the items he wrote in step 5 if applicable.)
  7. Complete “tools” section
  8. Verbal discussion with mom: Ask questions based on the 5 common topics about
    • The story
    • Each item from step 5
    • Each item from step 6
    • Each interesting item
  9. Choose 3 sub-proofs from each proof
  10. Complete outline
  11.  Develop paper
    • Day 1: Rough draft (spelling and punctuation do not matter)
    • Day 2: Secondary draft (Rough draft 2)-Rewrite rough draft to include any missing “tools” or elements
    • Day 3: Tertiary Draft (Rough draft 3): Rewrite for correct spelling and punctuation. 
    • Day 4: Final draft

This process goes from the larger picture to the details.  It does not focus as much on invention (ANI Chart) as the process outlined in the curriculum does.  However, at this age/grade level, invention is not my primary focus.  The ability to write well is.  I want him to develop the larger skills now, so they are easier for him.  Then I want him to develop the details later as the skills that match his natural inclinations are developed. 

The next post I write will be on how I adapt visual organizers in this process.  I will post this within a few days.  Please be patient with me as I am finishing the final steps to defending my dissertation on homeschooling gifted and twice-exceptional children. Also, I do not use American paper. I use a paper I have to order from overseas. I am currently developing a writing program with a modified version of this paper, which I will also be writing about soon.


One Unique Mom