Writing Program Overview

Our Approach

Our writing program covers a broad spectrum of skill levels. Our writing courses are designed to help students become proficient in the fundamentals of English composition. Writing courses are taught twice per week.

Writing Courses

Writing Fundamentals and Writing A/B: In their freshman year, students take either Writing Fundamentals or Writing A/B.

Writing Fundamentals reviews paragraph and multi-paragraph essay construction, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.

Writing A/B helps students advance to an intermediate level. It assumes that students understand the basics of writing and are ready to learn essay composition. This course also teaches research skills and more about grammar and spelling.

Honors Writing A/B: Honors Writing A/B, our advanced writing course, is for students who need more sophisticated skills, such as narrative, persuasive writing, advanced research skills, and writing in different media such as web writing, blogging, and print writing. Most students complete Writing or Honors Writing in ninth grade. Completing Writing A/B or Honors Writing A/B is required for graduation.

Journalism and Creative Writing: Journalism and Creative Writing teach additional writing styles and applications. Journalism is open to high school students of all ages. It helps students understand the cultural role of journalism and gives students a chance to work on our school newspaper.

Choosing the Right Course: Students may register for the course they believe best suits their needs. During the first week of class, they will complete a placement assessment to confirm that they are in the right course for their skill level. However, we encourage students to take the placement assessment early. To download the placement assessment, go here and follow the instructions for completing and submitting the assessment.

Ninth grade students whose assessments reveal superior skills for their grade level may take Journalism to satisfy the graduation requirement for one completed writing course. However, many choose to complete all four semesters of Writing courses to further develop their writing skills.

Writing courses are taught twice per week and invite active student participation through discussion and application exercises.

Other Elements of Writing Program

Writing Integration: Our writing programs are integrated across all subject areas. Our mentors use basic writing guidelines to ensure that all students meet minimum writing standards. The same guidelines are used in Art Appreciation, Biology, Literature, and all other courses.

Structured Writing: Structured writing enables students to rapidly gain proficiency in English composition. Our students build on and refine proficiency in high school and well beyond. The structured approach includes these concepts.

  • Specific requirements create competency, creativity, and independence.
  • Writing guidelines hold all students to the same quality standards.
  • Mentors introduce one concept at a time, model it extensively, and give numerous examples.
  • Many short application exercises speed up progress.
  • Mentors use the Feedback Loop to guide student progress.
  • Students practice writing daily.
  • Structure is fixed and develops organizational skills.
  • Style is fluid and brings writing to life.
  • Learning is further enhanced by group discussions about their writing experiences.

Our structured writing program is influenced by The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and other structured programs. Our high school mentors participate in IEW trainings. However, IEW experience is not necessary for LAUT students.

The Feedback Loop: Here’s how the Feedback Loop works.

  1. Mentors give clear instructions in the first class each week.
  2. Students apply instructions to a specific assignment.
  3. Mentors provide specific, written feedback.
  4. Students receive further instruction in the second class each week.
  5. Students applying the instructions to another assignment.
  6. Mentors provide written feedback.

Students go through this loop every week. The loop helps them quickly learn and practice new skills. The new skills add to their proficiency.

Writing Tutor Lab: Students in language arts courses have access to our Writing Tutor Lab. Students can go to the Writing Tutor Lab to get one-to-one help as often as they like. Lab hours are posted on each course home page.

Lab tutors ask questions that help students discover answers to their questions. This method helps them become independent learners more quickly. Tutors also provide feedback, practice, and resubmission in a method similar to our Writing Feedback Loop.

High School Writing Courses

CoursesRecommended GradeCreditDelivery FormatPrerequisites
Writing & Rhetoric A90.5Live/Self-PacedNone
Writing & Rhetoric B90.5Live/Self-PacedWriting & Rhetoric A
Writing & Rhetoric A (Honors) 90.5LiveNone
Writing & Rhetoric B (Honors) 90.5LiveWriting & Rhetoric A (Honors)
Journalism9-120.5Live/Self-PacedWriting & Rhetoric A/B or Writing A/B