Strategies and Tools To Build Writing Skills Among Your Students

Strategies and tools to build writing skills among your students

Writing is one of the essential skills that students have to learn as they go from one stage to another in their academics.

These skills are taught in schools from high school through to college, aiming to expose them to the various ways by which they can solve real problems whenever they are faced with one.

Writing allows students to discover many other vital facilities simultaneously, which can help them succeed in their education, career, and other relevant aspects of their lives.

Amongst all, writing is undeniable, one of the essential competencies that every student must develop.

As a skill per se, writing gives students the chance to simultaneously discover many other vital facilities that can help them succeed in their academics, career, and other relevant aspects of their lives.

Unfortunately, many students do not understand how important writing is in their lives and lack good writing skills.

This article brings you strategies recommended by experts to help make your students good writers, followed by some top writing tools.

Consider improving student writing to be your responsibility.

First of all, you being a teacher, must understand that the teaching of writing is not just the work of an English teacher. Writing is an essential tool in learning a discipline, and helping students improve their writing skills is the responsibility of all professors.

Make students know that you value good writing.

 Emphasize the importance of clear and thoughtful writing. Practice giving rewards to students who write well and penalize or deduct marks of those with poor writing skills; such practices result in better essays than instructors who do not make such demands.

Also, make sure to remind students that they must do their best to express themselves on paper, from day one at school and throughout the semester. Save your statements with comments on early assignments that show you think so, and your students will respond.

Remind students that writing helps clarify ideas.

Making students understand that writing is a lifestyle, not an end in itself, is excellent for putting your ideas into words on paper. In addition, let them know that writing is a complex, disordered, non-linear process full of false starts. For further assistance, explain the 'how-to' of writing and the key activities to focus on:

  • Developing ideas
  • Finding a focus and a thesis
  • Composing a draft
  • Solicit feedback and comment from others.
  • Review the project by broadening ideas, clarifying meaning, and reorganizing it.
  • Editing
  • Present the finished work to readers.
  • Assign writing exercises often.

To vary the pace of a class, ask students to write a couple of minutes in class. A mix of classroom writing, outdoor writing, and tests with open-ended questions will give students the practice they need to improve their skills.

Allow students to talk about their writing.

Students must talk about their writing in progress to formulate their thoughts, generate ideas, and focus on their topics. You should give a short session of five or ten minutes of class to let students read their writing to each other in small groups or pairs and discuss. Students need to hear what their peers have written and exchange ideas for better outcomes.

Teach the 6 Traits of writing.

The six traits of writing are crucial for better writing skills. You must teach the 6 Traits, which means teaching students about focusing on ideas, organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Focusing on a few of these, especially the ideas, is often a significant priority on writing tests and word choice. Leads, transitions, and conclusions are lumped in with the organization, which is a priority. Moreover, proper framing of all these produces a well-written work.

Provide Feedback.

Instead of putting a cross or deducting marks, it would be better to encircle errors, provide little input, and return the paper with grades. Sadly, many teachers do not do that, which could be a significant reason for not improving students' writing.

So, learn to pinpoint the errors along with the possible correction, offer them personalized Feedback, and allow them to self-assess themselves. As they approach a final product and offer specific peer writers "search" and guidelines to perfect and fine-tune their writing. This Feedback leads to much stronger final drafts and higher scores. More important, students feel supported and encouraged when learning to write.

Model your writing process.

It may also be helpful for many learners if you share your process in approaching writing tasks. Share about the past experiences when you struggled to grapple with complex topics. Aside from these, you can tell students how you frame your written piece, like What questions do you ask yourself before you begin? Who is your audience? What are you trying to convince them of? What do I want to say? How do you go about writing? Do you prepare a rough outline? And so on. All these would help them learn from you.

Require Drafts.

Many good authors believe in writing a draft before delivering high-quality writing. For them, good writing requires a review, reflection, and sometimes quite a thorough review. Many students, however, misinterpret or underestimate what good writing entails, believing it is a simple linear process when it is complex and iterative. They leave the writing tasks at the last minute, expecting to sit down and rapidly produce a good document, which is certainly not true. In this way, they may not give themselves enough time to review the premises, adjust the organizational pattern, refine their arguments, etc. Ask students to prepare drafts as it forces students to build inappropriate time frames for their work.

Create Rubrics.

A comprehensive marking guide or scorecard is excellent for helping students recognize parts of a writing assignment.

Moreover, understand how their competencies will be assessed in each field. A good rubric helps students see high-quality writing and the skills needed to perform well. You may wish to provide your grid to students and work to know the criteria in advance and plan appropriately.

Ask parents to help outside of school.

 Although students learn to write through teachers' examples and guidance, it is sometimes essential to have someone else there to review it, and parents can do it well. It will make a massive difference in how their children's writing skills improve by agreeing to read early drafts. Use the child's words to suggest optimized phrasing and help them pinpoint what they are trying to say through conversation. This makes it easier for the ideas to be written down.

Allow the use of spell and grammar checks.

Spelling and grammatical feedback can be helpful for a child learning how to write or improve. This is because sometimes, multiple suggested corrections force a child to notice the awkward phrasing or misspelled word and spend some extra cognitive energy thinking about how to correct it. Computers also offer the ability to correct errors without the embarrassment or stigmatization of multiple erase marks on a hand-written copy.

Suggest copying activities.

Finally, copying or memorizing favorite poems, quotations, or other written language can help children concentrate on the form, use, and meaning of new structures and incorporate them into productive use.

Although no parent or teacher advocates plagiarism, borrowing grief structures for your ideas is how kids write and improve. They will improve wording from everything students read, and you can help encourage the process by providing them with specific materials to work with.

Tools to improve writing skills

A simple copy and paste of your content and Hemingway Editor highlight text passages requiring improvement, with colors varying with the type of issue flagged.

Whether you write on Google Docs, word press, or others, Grammarly gives you instant suggestions wherever you are writing.

The free version will catch glaring errors, and there is a paid upgrade if you are looking for more help on sentence structure and complex grammar issues.

This user-friendly website provides free monthly workshops and lessons, and here you can also find countless invites and resources for k-12. They will also help children make writing a daily practice without wasting time understanding what they should write about. It also provides photo prompts, pun prompts, and notepad ideas.

On ReadWriteThink, you can find various tools to help kids organize their writing process. The tools are divided into categories, and some of these categories are intended for specific age groups. There are sections dedicated to writing and publishing prose, poetry, summarizing, organizing, and valuable general materials about the language.

With StoryJumper, kids can create their online storybooks, add photos, clip art, and other visual elements to their stories and later read and discuss them with their friends, siblings, parents, and teachers. This could lead to an exchange of ideas and Feedback.

Another thing that may make writing more attractive is the rhymes. Magnetic poetry helps make the learning process fun by providing words and space where children can arrange those words to rhyme. If kids are stuck, they can request new words and add them to the list. Children and their parents or educators can use this tool to create an interactive and stimulating experience.

Time4writing helps kids learn how to write sentences correctly. It also teaches how to write paragraphs and entire essays through its step-by-step approach, which can help students master writing without overwhelming writing assignments, gradually learning every step of the writing process. There are also many valuable materials about the principles of writing and tips on developing writing skills.

Once your child has mastered the basics of writing, he or she can visit JumpStart and benefit from various writing guidelines and tips. They can learn about traditional five-paragraph essays and download printable worksheets that ask children to respond to specific written questions. These worksheets may be the perfect solution for everyday writing studies.

StoryStarters is an idea generation platform that will help children get started, regardless of writing. It has innovative messages created for children in various age groups, from kindergarten to grade six. This interactive tool is designed to make children's education attractive and fun. Furthermore, all messages are creative enough to provide children with plenty of fresh ideas for their writing.

Do you have any tips for teachers? If yes, do let us know in the comments. 

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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