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Writing Module Introductory Note: Common Objectives

Module by: The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication. E-mail the author

Each of the three modules in this series introducing the Little Red Schoolhouse principles aims to do several things:

  • Present an overview of the Little Red Schoolhouse method;
  • Review key LRS topics and terminology;
  • Examine one aspect of the writing and editing process more closely, working through selected examples

Writers often lack useful terms for talking about their writing with peers, editors, and collaborators. Developing a vocabulary for talking about good writing simplifies the composition, editing and review processes. These Modules introduce the Little Red Schoolhouse (LRS) method and terminology and discuss some of the major strategies of the LRS approach.

The Little Red Schoolhouse curriculum originated at the University of Chicago and was developed by Joe Williams, Greg Colomb, Frank Kinahan, Peter Blaney and others. The LRS curriculum has been adopted and adapted at, among others, the University of Chicago, Duke University, the University of Illinois, the University of Virginia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The approach formulates practical solutions to common difficulties of writing experienced by students across disciplines.

LRS Helps Writers

  • recognize and solve common problems;
  • achieve better writing through better reading and revision;
  • gain increased awareness of what makes their writing readable and persuasive.

Writing for the Reader

As readers, we respond to writing that is clear, direct, and coherent. As writers, we need to learn how to produce these qualities in our own work. Sometimes we lack the vocabulary for talking about writing – especially about matters of style—with our peers, editors, and collaborators. Learning new ways to talk about good writing simplifies the composition, editing and review processes. LRS provides writers with the tools to see and solve common problems.

My introductions ramble→ Focus on topic sentences

My paragraphs lack structure→ Learn to use transition sentences

My audiences never seem convinced → Increase authority with well-chosen evidence and acknowledgement and response

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