Each outline comes with tips and annotated sample paragraphs.
Example - Leaving Independence for the Oregon Trail
Hundreds of excited people around rushed back and forth from the stores to their covered wagons, looking for last minute supplies for their big trip out west. I sat on the front steps of the post office in Independence, Missouri, watching all of the craziness around me. I was fourteen years old and had lived in Missouri my entire life. Until now. Now, my life was about to change - forever.
"Henrietta!" my mom called from across the street, interrupting my silent thoughts. She was standing next to our covered wagon. It was filled all the way up to the top with our supplies: food, barrels, medicine, guns, blankets. All the things we would need for our journey to Oregon. That was where we were moving. My family had decided to pack up everything that we knew and move to an unknown territory, all the way across the continent. My parents told me it would take six months to get there. Six months of walking or riding in the wilderness. I was not excited. I did not want to leave our home, which I loved. I would miss my friends and the home that I grew up in.
"What?" I yelled back to my mom. I was still angry at her for making us move. "Come with me to the store!" she said, waving a hand. I didn't want to, but I knew she would be upset with me if I didn't, so I got up from steps and crossed the busy street. My mom wrapped her arm around my shoulders as we walked together to the store. "What do we even have to buy?" I asked. We had already bought so much stuff for our trip."Just one more thing," she said, smiling at me. "Are you still nervous about leaving?" "I'm not nervous," I said, frowning. "I just don't really see why we have to move. I like it here in Independence."
We kept walking and went up the dusty steps of the general store. Inside, there were hundreds of things to buy: food, toys, candy, knives, and more. Everything you could need to live -- in a house, or on a wagon, like we were going to do. "There's not a lot of opportunity for us here in Independence anymore," Mom said as we walked down the aisles. "But there are so many opportunities in Oregon! President Polk told all the people that we should move West. There is a lot of land there, so we can build a beautiful new house. We can even make a huge farm to have all we need to survive. Even though the trip will be hard, our lives will change for the better." I didn't say anything to that, because I would still miss our life here. Instead, I said, "What are we here for?" "This," my mom said, stopping and smiling. She pointed to a small postcard, that had a beautiful drawing of my favorite park in Independence on it. "I wanted to get this for you. You can put it on the walls of the wagon. It'll remind you of Independence, even when we're far away." I looked at the small picture and thought I was going to cry.
"Remember, honey," my mom said, "even if we're far from home, your dad and I are still with you. And home is wherever your family is." "You're right, Mom," I said, brushing away my tears. We took the postcard up to the front and paid for it. Then, we walked across the street and I hopped into the wagon. Later, my dad and mom hooked up the oxen to the wagon, and we started to move. I put up the postcard and watched my hometown fade off into the distance. Even if I was scared, Mom was right. Everything would be alright, as long as I was with my family. Our future in Oregon was waiting.