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Written Elaboration: Simplification and Elaboration Worksheets

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Writing Skills:  Simplification and Elaboration   Lisa Flowers

Written Elaboration:
Adding Meaning

Simplification and Elaboration

The reason this is one of my favorite writing skills activities is that it never fails to amuse the students to whom I give it! At the same time, it very clearly demonstrates that additional words do not directly equal additional meaning. It begins with an example sentence: "I ventured outside accompanied by my canine companion to arrive at a public designated area of shrubbery and foliage", and points out that all this means is "I took my dog to the park". The next example is another long sentence about taking a dog to the park, but this time one packed with meaning, including descriptions of the dog, the park, the walk, and the day. For the writing exercise, students are tasked with simplifying other long, comically complicated sentences down to the contained meanings, and then roll dice to find out which elements (including adjectives, adverbs, places, times, more descriptive verbs, and more specific nouns) they must add to their simplified sentences. Included is an answer key that incorporates therapeutic notes.

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