Writing Strategies (DVD)
Writing Strategies (DVD) Writing Strategies (DVD) Writing Strategies (DVD)

Writing Strategies Video 5 Awards Winner

Marko the Pencil shows students how to break a writing assignment into short, manageable tasks and take their writing from mediocre to magnificent. Play the entire program or use the chapter menus so writers can apply each strategy before moving on to learn other strategies. The writing toolbox includes visual clues for each writing tip. The fun animation engages learners and demonstrates how to apply each writing tool effectively.

Grades 3-12. Approx. 70 minutes.



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  • iParenting Media Awards, Best Product

    Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, Kids First! Endorsement

    Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award

    Creative Child Magazine, Preferred Choice Award

    Learning® Magazine Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom

  • “Who will help a young girl write her school essay? A pencil named Marko. And this pencil is sharp! Har, har. A worthwhile and well-presented animated video, Rock 'N Learn uses Marko to cover all aspects of writing an essay – from test strategies (breathe, be neat, etc.) to brainstorming ideas, knowing your audience, organizing, and tools for writing.

    “What's particularly appealing about this teaching video is that the young girl who needs Marko's help actually has an assignment: write a story about an adventure. From start to finish, from idea to word choices, the essay is examined and re-worked in a friendly, helpful, clear way. Anyone watching it – whether kids, parents or teachers – will come away with useful reminders that colorful words, transitions, personification and dialogue will make any story come alive. Marko's ‘Writer's Toolbox’ is filled with easy-to-understand writing information for grades four and up. A second section of the 70-minute video focuses on proofreading. Listen to Marko and your next story will be vastly improved.” – Parents’ Choice Award


    “Marko the Pencil, sporting a bow tie and a French accent, offers encouragement and selects tools to help her sharpen writing skills. In each instance, he explains the tool, gives an example of how it works, and then asks the student to try to incorporate it in her story. Marko explains brainstorming, identifying the audience, finding a hook, and organizing ideas. He suggests using language rich with dialogue, colorful words, similes, onomatopoeia, and ending with a lasting impression. The first part of the program deals with writing content, and the second segment covers proofreading by using writing samples and a multiple choice format to find mistakes. This is the perfect vehicle to teach the thought process involved in successful writing, and it does it with pizzazz.” – Review from the School Library Journal by Marilyn Hersh, Hillside Elementary School, Farmington Hills in Michigan


    “The writing tools revealed through the story by Marko are helpful for any writer, and he shows HOW to use each tool introduced throughout the writing process. I think this DVD is an effective learning tool for parents and teachers who are instructing students on how to write properly. There is also a section on proofreading, which is essential in writing. The main menu is organized and easy to select the portion of the DVD you wish to view.” - Kelly M.


    “I just wanted to let you know that I checked your video out for Writing Strategies and at the age of 54, I got some really light bulb moments. I loved it and cannot wait to share with my grandchildren. The main reason I got it was to update myself so that I could tutor. I absolutely love how it is set up but how it was easy to follow. Loved Loved Loved it. I am going to purchase the complete set asap. Thanks. Sincerely” – Denise W.


    "This product really explains, in a visual way, story elements such as sequencing, a hook, transition, colorful words, and more. The help that Marko gives is specific, useful, and immediately applicable. The writing process is often a painful one. This product helps by breaking it down into small steps. Even better, it uses visual cues that will help students, especially visual learners, keep the steps in mind." – Diana Lawsky, Instructor Magazine


    "Marko the Pencil knows all the insider tips for producing the most polished prose. He introduces viewers to his Writer's Toolbox, packed with smart, easy-to-implement strategies for improving writing: brainstorming for a topic; hooking readers; organizing sentences and ideas; using transitional phrases, personification, dialogue, similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration; and much more. Marko makes lessons meaningful and memorable by using real passages to demonstrate his writing tools at work. His strategies are perfect for any writing assignment or standardized test. Also includes bonus materials: tips for proofreading and for acing multiple-choice writing tests." - Beth Hanlon, educational reviewer


    “The DVD had excellent writing strategies that really went with what my youngster was working on at the time. It helped him to know where to begin. I also like the fact that the poster can be printed. I intend to print these as reminders for when he is working on his homework. The ability to choose one segment is great as well.” - John S., parent


    "I never really knew how to use voice in my stories, but now I finally know what it is. I never understood what my teacher wanted me to do when she said to put feeling into my stories. Now I do." - Caleb L. Age 10

  • Join in the fun as Marko helps a friend develop a real writing passage and demonstrates how to use each tool effectively. Learn how to:

    • brainstorm ideas for your assignment
    • consider your audience and identify your purpose
    • find a hook to interest readers
    • organize sentences and ideas effectively
    • avoid unclear pronouns
    • use transitional phrases
    • involve your readers with effective dialogue
    • enrich your work with similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, and more


    This animated adventure is ideal for classroom use as well as individual practice. Although it was designed and tested with students in fourth grade, our team of educators discovered that students in higher grades (even high school and college) benefited from the review of writing tools and how to effectively integrate all of them into a writing passage.

    We have included a special bonus section: Marko shows you how to proofread your work, and he reveals secrets to score well on multiple-choice writing tests. Plus, you will find free downloadable posters and support material at Marko's special website.

    All of the students using this program during our research loved watching it and commented that many of the writing concepts that they had heard about in school finally made sense to them. Marko's humor keeps students focused.

    Teachers sometimes start by showing the entire program to students to get an overview (although this is optional). Chapter menus make it easy to show students a specific writer’s tool and then practice applying it to their own writing. Visual cues for each of the tools help students remember difficult terms like personification and onomatopoeia. Students who are English Language Learners respond particularly well to an approach that provides visual cues and shows them exactly how to apply each tool to make their writing stronger.

    You won’t find a DVD video for writing that does a better job showing students from fourth grade up specific strategies for improving their writing.


    Writing Strategies includes:

    • Marko's Song
    • Brainstorming Your Topic and Getting Started
    • The Arranger
    • The Hook
    • Transitional Cake
    • Colorful Words and Expressing Feelings
    • Personification
    • Dialogue
    • Similes
    • Onomatopoeia
    • More Practice Applying Marko's Writing Tools
    • Alliteration
    • Detecting Unclear Pronouns
    • How to Make A Lasting Impression
    • The Finished Story
    • Review of Marko's Writing Tools



    • How to Proofread for Careless Errors
    • How to Score Well on a Multiple-Choice Writing Test
    • Marko's Posters for Becoming an Outstanding Writer