Question Detail

How to build a better writer…

Dec 21, 2013 8:57pm

Often times students come to us ill equipped and with deficienies. I am often their last chance before they try their hand at a higher level institution. I have many students who are not capable of passing a writing entrance exam. I need help with how to go back to the basics and bring them up to speed in a year or two!!! If I have students that are writing at a middle school level, what do you suggest? Where to start? I have been discussing the importance of thesis and support, but many of their issues are grammar and using improper sentence structure.

  • English Language Arts
  • 11
  • Assessment / Common Core / Planning


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    • Dec 27, 2013 1:00am


      I am a firm believer in continued re-writing until the piece is "college ready." It may take students 5+ versions of the same paper, with focused instruction on sentence structure, grammar, word choice, etc... but if these lessons are focused on different pieces of writing, I never see the writing grow in the same way. I actually have taught remedial courses at the college level, and I find that student writing really improves when they can return to their own piece time and time again to make it better. Once it's college-proficient, they can move on, but until then, it's back to the same paper. At the end, you can ask them to reflect on the multiple versions so they can see how much they have grown.


      • Dec 24, 2013 8:41am

        In addition to explicit skills instruction, I've found the most effective strategy is one on one or small group writing conferences with the teacher. In these conferences I read, discuss, and edit their writing with them. I have them correct their errors with me there. I'll admit that it was a lot easier to do with Kindergarten writing than 6th grade, but it's worth it.