Formal one-paragraph essay training; assignments are coordinated with Old Testament I, Greek History I, Greek Literature I, and Astronomy I.
       18-week course plan for Jensen’s Format Writing: How to Write Easily and Well.  This is a single book that we break into three parts, each part completed in a semester.  This year is the study of the one-paragraph essay.  The student learns to recognize the seven formal essay formats—example, classification, definition, process, analogy, cause & effect, and comparison—and learns to respond to an essay prompt in its own format.  Each assignment trains, then guides the student in “the general procedure for constructing a [format type] essay,” then in the steps of “working it through.”  Be sure these two sets of steps, “general procedure” and “working it through,” are thoroughly understood, exercised, and internalized this year.  “Check Sheets & Forms” (evaluation keys) are included in the back of the worktext.  Great Writing: A Reader for Writers is our recommended resource and reference for Jensen’s Format Writing.  It includes expanded discussion of the format types and samples of the types drawn from well-known authors and works.  And a variety of helpful worksheets for this program are included in the High School Orientation guide.
  • An overview of this course is provided in the Academic Packet.  
  • The weekly study plan for this course is included in STAA Study Guide: Greek Studies I, B Track.  The study plan is also available for purchase as a single-subject course plan booklet:  
  • The STAA Study Guide for this course may be viewed online on the STAA Student Zone:  
  • This course is also offered as a live, online class in the Fall Semester:


A portion of every purchase made on Amazon after following the links here goes to help support St. Thomas Aquinas Academy's work. Thank you so very much for thinking of STAA when placing your book and general Amazon orders!

Jensen's Format Writing

  • Author: Frode Jensen
  • Publisher/Copyright: : Master Books, 2016. Print edition.
  • ISBN: 0890519927        978-0890519929
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

160 pgs; seven parts; tests; answer key; teacher’s notes; evaluation forms; index. DVD lectures to expand upon student text are also available from Rainbow Resource, but are not required. We use this book for three semesters. The page numbers, not the content, changed between the 2006 and 2016 editions of "Format Writing." The 2006 edition page numbers are listed in the STAA Study Guide followed by brackets with the 2016 edition page numbers.

Great Writing: A Reader for Writers [ORDER USED]

  • Author: Harvey S Wiener and Nora Eisenberg
  • Publisher/Copyright: New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1987. Print.
  • ISBN: 0070701679        978-0070701670
  • Supplier: Retail or

Any edition will do; our course plans use the 1987 edition's page numbers. Follow the chapter names if you order another edition. Save money: get a used copy through Amazon Marketplace Sellers ($5-$14 plus shipping). This is a secular, college text.

Writing Handbook

  • Author: Michael P. Kammer and Charles W. Mulligan
  • Publisher/Copyright: Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1953. Print.
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier: Our Lady of Victory School

Hardcover, 592 pages. Originally published by Loyola University Press in 1953, and now by Lepanto Press, this is a reference manual to accompany the practice of grammar, punctuation, composition, and essay writing. Topics include parts of speech, syntax, punctuation, spelling rules, diagraming, sentences, paragraphs, expository writing, and much more. This is a decidedly Catholic text, with a delightful section dedicated to explaining the capitalization rules for religious terms such as the names of God, the Blessed Virgin, and papacy as well as religious, military, and social titles. St. Thomas Aquinas Academy looks to "Writing Handbook" as the in-house writing style handbook. "Warriner's English Grammar and Composition" by John Warriner or "A Writer's Reference with MLA Update" by Diana Hacker are also fine manuals for grammar and writing style.

Synonym Finder

  • Author: J. I. Rodale
  • Publisher/Copyright: New York: Warner Books Inc., 1986. Print.
  • ISBN: 0446370290        978-0446370295
  • Supplier: Retail or

376 pages. This is our favorite desktop thesaurus but any large, collegiate level thesaurus will do.

Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition

  • ISBN: 0764571257        978-0764571251
  • Supplier: Retail or

This is only one option; any full-size collegiate level dictionary is fine. It is a good idea to have an exhaustive desktop dictionary and a condensed, pocket-sized dictionary readily available.

MLA 9 Simplified: Easy Way Guide to MLA Handbook: Updated for the MLA 9th Edition Handbook (Student Citation Styles)

  • Author: Appearance Publishers
  • Publisher/Copyright: : Independently published, 2021. .
  • ISBN:        979-8505819418
  • Supplier: Retail or

98 pages. One of many MLA style guides. Our course plans reference the free online resource from Purdue -- the Online Writing Lab (OWL) website -- but students are welcome to use this simplified handbook or another instead of visiting the OWL website.

DOWNLOAD: Essay Worksheets: Basic & Advanced

  • Publisher/Copyright: Reno: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, 2009. PDF files.
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Student Zone

Printable versions of the Essay Worksheets mentioned in the "High School Orientation" can be printed from the student course webpage.

Jensen’s Grammar (Textbook, Tests and Answers)

  • Author: Frode Jensen
  • Publisher/Copyright: : Master Books, 2014. Print.
  • ISBN: 1886061386        9781886061385
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

263 pages; 75 lessons; worksheet format; 5 student charts; separate answer key/test booklet; glossary. Entire workbook completed over the course of six semesters.

Jensen's Punctuation: A Complete Guide to All Your Punctuation Needs

  • Author: Frode Jensen
  • Publisher/Copyright: : Master Books, 2016. Print Workbook.
  • ISBN: 1886061262        9781886061262
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

234 pages; worksheets, spiral reviews and final exams; answer key included in text; Grades 6-12. Entire workbook completed over the course of eight semesters. The page numbers, not the content, changed between the 2000 and 2016 editions of "Jensen's Punctuation." The 2000 edition page numbers are listed in the STAA Study Guide followed by brackets with the 2016 edition page numbers.

General Punctuation Rules Reference (GPR)

  • Author: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy
  • Publisher/Copyright: Reno: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, 2022. PDF.
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Student Zone

Print and keep handy the "General Punctuation Rules Reference (GPR)." This reference is based on the punctuation rules from "Jensen's Punctuation" that we study and memorize throughout high school. This resource is available in the APPENDIX OF FORMS and is linked to at the top of every Language Arts course page on the STAA Student Zone.


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