Power Writing is a way to teach students to read and write for information. It teaches children to write without copying word for word when they take notes or write a report. Its lessons help students to see the correct organization of a paragraph, understand main idea and detail, discover how to web and outline, and learn to paraphrase information in their own words.
By the time students reach the fourth or fifth grade it is assumed that they can read for information, but many cannot. Not only can they not find the topic of a paragraph but most times details just fly out the window or are assumed to be the main information. In teaching Power Reading and Writing, students start on the ground floor with examples as simple as one sentence. Gradually they develop into reading whole paragraphs, and finally into their own textbooks. Along with the reading for information comes the writing for information since the two are synonymous and should be taught together. How many teachers have had to take aspirin after reading page upon page of "encyclopedia paragraphs" that students have copied word for word from text, that mean nothing to the students, and have only succeeded in giving the teacher a headache! The Power Writing part is a process that breaks texts into parts so that students are able to recognize examples, characteristics, cause/effect, sequencing, and definitions. In addition to webbing, it goes on to teach outlining and transition words. As these transition words are mastered, students learn to paraphrase the information that they have read, to take notes, organize the notes, and write them without regurgitating back the exact words of the text.
Having taught this for many years, I know the importance of the simple beginning although it might seem tedious at first; however, it is necessary so that students totally understand the concepts of reading for information and writing that same information into paraphrased information. I know it works and hope you will try it.