Writing Matters focuses appropriate and necessary attention on the sentence. Students learn to understand and write sentences of increasing sophistication and complexity:
Applied Grammar: Terminology (both parts of speech and sentence parts) is a vocabulary useful for developing student writing. Identification of words and groups of words in a sentence is merely a stepping stone to student creation of good sentences with a variety of expanders and structures. Writing Matters focuses not on grammar but on the development of good sentences through grammar.
The Way Words, Phrases, & Clauses Relate to Each Other: While Writing Matters does ask instructors and their students to identify words and groups of words, the focus is on the relationships those words and groups of words have with each other rather than labeling by structure. For example, adverbs are identified not by whether they end in suffix –ly but instead by the relationship they have with verbs (as well as adjectives and other adverbs) in the sentence.
The Link Between Sentence Syntax and Comprehension: For decades, educators have valued the relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension. In recent years an increasing focus on sentence syntax and its connection to reading comprehension has validated student understanding of relationships between words (parts of speech instruction) and relationships between phrases and clauses (sentence parts instruction). In other words the development of an understanding of syntax, brought about through the Writing Matters approach, builds not only sentence writing skills but also sentence comprehension.
Common-Core Alignment: The language standards of the C.C.S.S. specifically address both parts of speech and sentence parts. Additionally, they discuss the development of good sentence skills. States that are developing standards outside the C.C.S.S. are relying on similar parameters. Writing Matters cross references each introduced concept with the Common Core so that instructors can recognize which concepts are important and relevant at which grade levels.
An Approach Rather Than A Method: Writing Matters is concept-based. Instructors are armed with effective elements of a lesson and the content necessary to flesh out that structure for students at a wide variety of grade and skill levels. While an appendix to the book does include a sequence of skills by grade level, instructors are empowered to synchronize the Writing Matters approach with content from other areas of the curriculum. Additionally, they are encouraged to modify, shorten, or lengthen particular concepts in order to adapt the approach to specific students or groups of students.