Writing Skills Practice Exercises

Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Read the following study guide for a concept review:

Writing Skills Study Guide

Read these practice passages actively and carefully. Then answer the questions that follow.

Note: If you come across unfamiliar words, do not look them up until after you've completed this practice exercise.

Exercise 1

Dear Shinto,

Thanks so much for the letter and photos you sent me last month. The picture of the monkeys in your backyard was my favorite!

Since I last wrote too you, two exciting things have happened. First, we had Spring Break. That means we get a week off of school. My best friend went on a trip with her parents to Ocean World. My family didn't go on a trip, but my mother took a day off of work to take me to the zoo!

We went on a Thursday. We saw hundreds of animals: lions, giraffes, lemurs, hippopotamuses, you name it! My favorite animal is the red panda. There were three of them at the zoo, and they were all sleeping in trees. My mother's favorite animals were the gazelles. Do you have gazelles in Japan?

The second exciting thing that happened was the eighth grade started to prepare for our Spring Performance. Every spring, the eighth grade performs a show with musical instruments, dancing, and costumes. All the parents and siblings come watch. This year, the theme is Mythology. I get to dress up like Hera, the queen of the Greek gods!

I can't wait for our performance next month. I'll send you pictures of my costume when it's ready. Does your school do any musical or theater performances?

Write back soon!



Read the following questions. Circle the letter of the answer you think is correct.

  1. What is the main idea of the letter?
    1. Maya loves the zoo.
    2. Maya misses her friend Shinto.
    3. Two exciting things have happened to Maya.
    4. Maya wants to visit Shinto's school.
  2. What error appears in the first sentence of Paragraph 2?
    1. since should be after
    2. too should be to
    3. two should be too
    4. have should be has
  3. Which of the statements below is an unnecessary dead-end detail?
    1. My family didn't go on a trip.
    2. We went on a Thursday.
    3. My mother's favorite animals were the gazelles.
    4. I can't wait for our performance next month.
  4. Which organizing principle is used in the letter?
    1. comparison and contrast
    2. cause and effect
    3. order of importance
    4. chronological
  5. Clues in the letter tell you that Shinto is probably
    1. Maya's teacher
    2. Maya's American friend
    3. Maya's Japanese pen pal
    4. Maya's newest friend

Exercise 2

New Opportunities at Summer Camp

Students have many options for how to spend their summer vacation. Some students stay home with their siblings and friends. Some students get a part-time job helping a parent or relative. Others get involved with volunteer programs. But many students choose to participate in a summer camp. There are many types of summer camps, and each camp has unique opportunities. Whether the camp lasts one week or three months, summer camp is a valuable experience that can enrich a student's life.

The first advantage of summer camp is that you get to meet new people. For some students, it will seem scary or challenging to make new friends. Students become comfortable with their school friends and want to spend time with them. But at summer camp, all the students have something in common! If it is an art camp, you'll be able to find new friends who love art. At a music camp, or a theater camp, or an outdoor adventure camp, the students will all have a shared interest. Summer camp is an opportunity to meet kids from different schools, or even different states, who share your interests.

Another advantage of summer camp is that you get to learn in unusual ways. In school, the teachers have to teach certain subjects, such as history and math. But students can choose a summer camp that focuses on the subject they find most interesting. At a science camp, you'll get to conduct amazing experiments. At circus camp, you'll learn tricks and acrobatics. At leadership camp, you can develop your leadership abilities through teamwork games. There is a special type of camp for every interest.

Summer camp can also be a chance to experience really cool places. Many summer camps are located in a special place, such as in the forest, beside a lake, or in a big city. As a student in the camp, you'll be able to live in this unique place for a while. You might get to explore a new area or city, and you'll come home from camp with new experiences.

Summer camp can be a life-changing experience for students. Spending part of your summer at a camp will help you meet new people, learn about your favorite subject in an interesting way, and possibly experience a new place. There is a summer camp for everyone, so don't spend your summer on the couch at home!

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