Sunburst Communications' The Writing Trek: Trekking Towards Literacy
The Writing Trek is a multimedia language arts CD-ROM designed to inspire students in grades 6 through 8 to build writing competence. Lessons on key writing concepts such as sentence structure, punctuation and vocabulary are incorporated into the twelve content-rich "real-life" writing projects and models. The Writing Trek language learning adventures encourage students to show creativity while refining their writing - certainly a goal all educators have for their students.
The Writing Trek adventure begins with an animated introduction that leads to a colorful fantasy village with six "houses" high on a mountaintop. Each house contains hot spots that provide access to two major projects, a lesson on a particular type of writing and a skill option where students can practice basic writing skills. The houses and types of writing covered are:
- P'etry Corner - P'etry writing in meter, rhyme and imagery
- Research Hall - Persuasive and informational writing
- News Center - Reporting and journalism
- Theater - Script and screenplay creation for a "listening audience"
- Story Place - Fiction writing
- Design Studio - Visual communication using image and text
From any project, students have immediate access to five onscreen resources (Writers' Handbook, Almanac, Lexicon, Thesaurus and Rhyming Dictionary), Internet access to the Trek Web pages (www.writingtrek.com) and an interactive notebook. The direct Internet link to The Writing Trek Web site helps students learn techniques for conducting online research. The site also provides students with a way to publish their writing and respond to work completed by other Trek e-pals. Valuable up-to-date information on the projects and additional language arts activities and resources are included for teachers. Each user's interactive notebook is a word processor that also guides them through projects by providing helpful writing prompts and questions.
The Writing Trek program offers a wealth of content that is balanced with a variety of on- and off-screen activities that can easily be integrated into any curriculum, teaching style and setting (any sized group, in or out of a computer lab). The Writing Trek program is a flexible teaching tool that can be utilized in middle school classrooms to improve reading, writing, and oral communication skills.
By Laura Voskovitch
Grade 9 At-Risk Coordinator
Monticello High School
This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.