The ability to write enables middle school students to express, discover, record, reflect on ideas, and problem solve. Yet, our expectations of their ability to write are often challenging for them. How, for example, are they supposed to integrate researched information with their own original ideas? How do they develop their voices or personalities on paper and express consistent points of view while? How do they maintain a certain style and also use correct grammar and word choice? It’s no wonder that only about twenty percent of eighth graders are at or above the proficient level in writing.

Success in writing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes an accumulation of multiple language skills acquired from grade to grade. The ability to process and organize information and understand the needs of the intended audience are paramount. Good writing also requires perseverance and the willingness to judge one’s efforts and make appropriate revisions. This kind of effort, in fact, runs counter to the emotions of middle school students, who, for the most part, want to finish a writing assignment as quickly as possible, in one attempt. While good schools and teachers are paramount to students developing writing mastery, equally important are parents’ patience and willingness to act as cheerleaders for their middle-schoolers, encouraging them to work toward writing mastery over time.

Unlike math and science subjects, where there are well-defined equations and methods for achieving solutions, writing lacks a clear format and pattern. Assimilation of information with creativity defines the mission of writing. On top of that, writing needs to ally with critical thinking for success, a skill that most educators agree is needed for the 21st century. While advanced academic pursuits require good writing skills, and high school and beyond are times when students need such skills to achieve academic goals, middle school is the best time to start serious training to write well.

Middle school students at Legend College Preparatory (LCP) may take Critical Reading and Response Writing, and Critical Reading and Research Writing, both of which are U.C.-approved. By finishing these two courses, middle school students earn a transcript with high school credits. They have the option to report the grades to colleges where they are applying. In the fall semester of 2019-2020, sixth grade students may take the new course Logic and Reasoning if they want to start writing seriously. If you are interested, contact LCP at (408) 865-0366 or

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