The Lost Tools of Writing is a high school-level classical rhetoric curriculum that teaches the persuasive essay. But it is more than a writing program; it is at heart a thinking program. Students learn to ask questions using the common topics to help them gather and arrange ideas and information from which they are able to derive and express theses and supporting points. These skills can be applied to every other kind of writing (and decision-making) they'll ever have to do! 

Over the course of the year, Level One students build on the simple structure of a very rudimentary Essay One and add new elements to each subsequent one. The foundational rhetorical canons of Invention, Arrangement, and Elocution are practiced together through lively class discussion and written exercises and then incorporated into each essay. 

Along the way, we’ll be reading, discussing, and relishing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as two of Tolkien’s short stories and some fairy tales by George MacDonald and the Brothers Grimm. We’ll discover the questions we ask to gather ideas for essays based on these works will help us be not only better writers, but more attentive and engaged readers as well. 

Suggested Age: 13 and up

Pre-requisites: None

Required Texts: 

  • The Lost Tools of Writing Student Workbook Level One (5th Edition)
  • The Hobbit, ISBN: 9780618260300 (or any available version)
  • The Tolkien Reader, ISBN: 9780345345066 (or any available version)
  • The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary One-Volume Edition, ISBN: 9780618640157 (or any available version) 

Registration numbers: Minimum 6; Maximum 14