3 Ways to Improve Your LTW Papers📝

All of you who use Lost Tools of Writing Curriculum know what I mean when I say that the LTW outlines seem to be strict and basic.  I’ve heard other kids comment on how “strict” it is, but today I want to try to give you another take on their style and how to use their outlines as a foundation to write extremely convincing and persuasive essays.  I’ll try to make this interesting, and I won’t put you to sleep.🙃 I think these points will actually help your essay stand out.  These are things I have noticed recently and found helpful.

Before I begin, I want to address the issue of the so-called “strict” outline.  It is actually very strong and leaves space for you to be creative!  The point of the clear and specific outline is to give a firm foundation to our essays.  So remember this: it’s a foundation. Throughout this post, I put excerpts of my most recent essay on The Door In the Wall to show you what I’m talking about. 😉  Let’s take a look at how you can change your paper from a bland, embarrassing mess into a creative and interesting essay.

1.  Connect Your Proofs and Review

In LTW, we have 3 main proofs and 3 sub-proofs under each of the main proofs.  If you strictly follow the outline, you will come up with something like this:

The first reason Robin should not give up is he discovers much.  The friar teaches Robin to wood carve and read, John-go-in-the-Wynd teaches him to play the harp and sing, and Robin even learns to make his own crutches.  

Instead of only listing your thesis and proofs, expand on the sub-proofs and relate them to the main proof.  Then continue to relate your points to each other throughout the essay.  Here is an example:

The first reason Robin should not give up is he discovers much.  When Robin moves to the monastery,  Brother Luke teaches Robin to wood carve and read, helping him to gain strength and learn patience.  John-go-in-the-Wynd teaches him to play the harp and sing after arriving at the castle, and Robin puts these skills to use when he plays music for the king.  Robin also learns to be independent and to help himself by making his own crutches.  He will not learn these skills if he gives up.  If he stays in the castle, he will never learn to carve.  If he gives up on the way, he will never learn to persevere.  If he turns from his mission, he will never learn to sacrifice.  He learns much when he continues the journey.

2.  If You Can, Pick a Thesis You Can Relate To.

I have only noticed this with my past paper, and I think this point helps an essay stand out.  I decided that “Robin should not give up”.  In the end, I tried to relate it to something in the world that mattered.

Robin should not give up because he discovers much, he has potential, and there is hope.  This story is a wonderful reminder to every person who is facing difficult circumstances, inspiring them to press on and use their limitations for something amazing.  Even cripples and young children can make a tremendous difference in the world.  Be like Robin.  Never give up and always press on.

3.  Write Full Paragraphs

If you do not expand on your sub-proofs, you will probably end up with 2-3 sentences for each paragraph.   A paragraph is supposed to be at least 5 sentences, and this length works well.  It seems to be the right amount to fully express thoughts and connect them.  So when you write your next LTW paper, try this paragraph length, and see if it flows.

I hope these three tips were helpful!  I am working on these points too, and I would love to hear the tips you may have about using the LTW outline and style. Comment below to share! 💙


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