Writing well is essential to becoming a successful student and communicator. Those students with strong writing skills also have stronger reading skills and tend to comprehend and process information more efficiently.
Teaching students to organize their thoughts and present them coherently on paper helps them with basic language, processing, executive functioning, analytical, organizational, and problem solving skills. Writing helps spark creativity, activating a student’s frontal cortex. Furthermore, strong writers tend to be more confident academically and professionally.
While learning to write is a vital skill, it is not necessarily an easy skill to master for every student. Let’s consider the following 4 strategies that will help students become more effective, more confident, more successful writers.
- Brainstorm. The process of writing an essay includes multiple steps before students actually start writing the essay. First, students should put all of their ideas on paper. These ideas should include any necessary research that the student performs. Brainstorming is an idea-generating process, and students should free associate, writing down anything that comes to mind. These random ideas might spark a great idea or an important concept later. It gives students time to sit and think about what they want to achieve in their writing. Brainstorming is an essential part of the writing process, as it provides students with an opportunity to think before they act, before they start to write.
- Outline. Outlining is the next strategic, essential step in this process. Outlining helps students to organize ideas. It enables students to identify the primary ideas that they want to prove within their essays. This creates a flow for the ideas that students developed during the brainstorming stage of writing. Outlines are an effective way to avoid writer’s block and confusion as students start to organize the ideas they brainstormed. While putting together an outline, organizing the information that they brainstormed, students will be able to more effectively develop a meaningful thesis. By creating an outline, students create a flow to the document, establishing a beginning, middle, and end.
- Write more and then cut as you revise your work. All writing requires at least one revision. Writing a longer first draft, including an excess of information, makes it easier to determine what information is essential to your essay. The first step in a revision process is to ensure that the student fully understands the purpose of the work. Are they narrating a story, making a persuasive argument, or analyzing a situation or literature? Next, students should ensure that they stay on topic and that they do not include extraneous information or excessively long quotes. By revising and cutting words, students learn to produce a more effective work product.
- Use simple, relatable language. The best writing does not necessarily include the longest, most complicated words in a student’s online thesaurus. Students should use language that is simple, informative, and direct. Write in the active voice and be mindful of context when you’re choosing your words. At times, as students try to choose more complicated words to relay concepts, they distort the context of their essays and stories. Using complex language throughout an essay can change the tone and meaning of the work. Familiar language ultimately makes students’ messages clearer.
Employing these essential strategies, students can approach the writing process confidently. Whether students are analyzing literature, evaluating topics in science research, arguing a position regarding a historical event, or telling a story, brainstorming, outlining, revising and cutting, and using simple, relatable language will help students become impactful, effective writers.
If your student needs help learning to write effectively, contact GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection and connect to one of the exceptional writing tutors on our referral list.