DSCF0343[2]The headstone in the picture  rests at Goodwood Racing Track in Sussex, England. Deciphered it says, ‘Drive it like you stole it’. Relevant to a driver exiting the pit lane with time to make up and laps winding down. Some may say risky advice but at least it is positive and the aim is to win. It is quite clear to me that such strong, simple, clear messages have never been given out to Tom, Zoe, Joe, Hannah & Zach. These represent my students…and various schools in the West Midlands. As ‘drivers’ they are trying to improve their effectiveness as writers of their own language. I have seen enough of what they produce at school, let alone for me, to know that they have never been taught how to construct a paragraph. It can be done in 10-15 minutes and a 4-point plan taken down on an index card as an aide memoire. Something for the writer’s/mechanic’s ‘tool box’. As such this is about building blocks and one can play about with the business of linking paragraphs subsequently. The point is that you cannot get at the FUN of dealing with the flow of continuous prose until you you can make the bricks. They are all bright students. They are all trying NOW to write fluently. It is painful for them but they do see that unless they become more effective at getting their points across they will suffer. Their immediate concerns are Exam Boards and Examiners. I am asking them to look further ahead to Tertiary Education and even the demands of working environments. It matters not one jot whether their words are machine or pen generated.. The advice needs to be as simple as that on the headstone. ‘Write as if someone else is going to read it.’ Fortunately these students are young enough to ‘crash’ a few times with their tutor, walk away, reflect and come again.