What Are the Lost Tools of Writing?

Good writing does not spring up from formulas or systems. There is no "secret" or "break-through" method that will make your students good writers or you a good writing teacher.

Good writing is the product of dedicated practice developing key skills.

To write well one must look at it like an art or a craft that demands careful attention and persistent hard work. In fact, learning to write well is not so different from learning to play the piano or sculpt a human figure or shoot a three point shot in basketball. 

The Lost Tools of Writing™ uses time-tested exercises as tools that will guide you and your student as you make the effort to become better writers and better writing teachers.

This program is based on the idea that all writers (from 14-year-old students to Pulitzer Prize winners) face three universal problems: every writer has to come up with good ideas, organize those ideas clearly, and express them effectively.

So we've adopted the three Canons of classical rhetoric to solve those problems.

  • First, there is Invention, a series of tools and skills that teach aspiring writers to come up with good ideas.
  • Then there is Arrangement, which is made up of tools and skills that help students organize their thoughts in an organized, effective, and coherent fashion.
  • And, finally, there is Elocution (a fancy word for style), which is made up of skills and tools that allow the young writer to creatively, effectively, and purposely express their thoughts.

Once the aspiring writer grasps how to employ these tools effectively the stresses and confusions that accompany writing begin to fade and with it the fear that often comes with writing assignments.

Currently offering two levels, Lost Tools is an ideal composition curriculum for students seventh through twelfth grade who already have a relatively solid understanding of grammar and sentence structure and who have at least a rudimentary amount of writing experience.