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Efficient Ways to Improve Student Writing

Explicit instruction in basic writing skills

❶Then the students tell the teacher what to write on the board to explain the experience. Sharing your experience in helping learners improve writing skills seems informative and useful.


How to differentiate writing activities:
Classroom compensations
Where Teachers Meet and Learn

This is not always easy: However, illuminating the complex steps involved in writing and revising to both you and your students is a useful exercise. Of course, one of the best ways for students to become better writers is through practice. However, as our learning principle on practice and feedback shows, not all practice is equally effective.

See more information on designing effective writing assignments and on responding to student writing. It is also helpful to include milestones into an assignment so that students submit either preliminary drafts so they can incorporate feedback in their subsequent revisions or components of a larger paper so they avoid leaving the entire assignment to the last minute. Few people are able to turn out high-quality writing in first drafts.

For most people, good writing requires rereading, rethinking, and sometimes fairly extensive revising. Many students leave writing assignments to the last minute, expecting to be able to sit down and rapidly turn out a good paper. Thus, they may not give themselves enough time to re-examine premises, adjust the organizational scheme, refine their arguments, etc.

Requiring drafts forces students to build in appropriate time frames for their work. A detailed scoring guide or performance rubric helps students to recognize the component parts of a writing task and understand how their competence will be assessed in each of these areas. A good rubric helps students to see what comprises high quality writing and to identify the skills they will need to perform well. You might want to provide your rubric to students along with the assignment so they know what the criteria are in advance and can plan appropriately.

Besides the differences between skilled and unskilled writers, there are cultural differences that often manifest themselves in the written work of non-native speakers of English. For example, Arabic speakers may develop their arguments by restating their position rather than stating rationales. Japanese speakers are inclined to argue both for and against an issue, and to be more tentative in their conclusions.

Some non-native speakers generally provide lengthier treatments of historical context, minimizing their own arguments. Understanding the behavioral differences between skilled and unskilled writers can help us work more effectively with students, even to "warn" them in advance of potential pitfalls to be avoided.

Conceive the writing problem in its complexity, including issues of audience, purpose, and context. Are less easily satisfied with first drafts. Think of revision as finding the line of argument. Revise extensively at the level of structure and content. Think of revision as changing words or crossing out and throwing away. Revise only at the level of single word or sentence. Are able to pay selective attention to various aspects of the writing task, depending on the stage of the writing process.

Often tried to do everything perfectly on the first draft. Reducing or eliminating copying demands, such as copying from the chalkboard, or even copying from another paper. Sometimes students with writing difficulties make multiple mistakes when copying information and it is important to insure that they have access to the correct information. For example, rather than having them copy the target information from the board, provide these students with a printed copy. Using large graph paper or looseleaf paper turned sideways helps the student align numbers properly in multi-step math problems.

Some students benefit from having their math problems machine copied in enlarged format with additional white space, as this also prevents errors in copying the problem. Some students perform better in manuscript whereas other students perform better using cursive. Allowing work to be completed by computer word processing helps the student use staging more efficiently while also bypassing the mechanical difficulties of letter form and space.

Hold students responsible for correct spelling on final drafts, encouraging use of a phonics-based spell checker, such as one of the Franklin Electronic Resources with a speaking component. It is unfair and counterproductive to make a student with writing problems stay in for recess to finish work.

These children need more movement time, not less. The most efficient compensation for any student who struggles with basic letter form and spacing is to develop efficient word-processing skills. Parents and teachers need to be aware; however, that it is very difficult to go through life totally avoiding use of paper and pencil and, consequently, it is important for each student to develop at least some basic handwriting skills.

Specific multisensory strategies designed for dysgraphic students are useful for any student who needs help developing appropriate letter form and automatic motor movements. Specific remedial strategies that incorporate air writing, use of the vertical plane chalkboard , simultaneous verbal cues, and reinforcement with tactile input, are most effective Richards, Students are able to learn keyboarding skills at a very young age.

However, keyboarding development requires practice and many students complain that the practice is especially boring. This can be a problem because consistency and frequency of practice are very important in developing automaticity. Consequently, it is useful to have the student practice keyboarding on a daily basis, but only for very short period of time each day. In early elementary, the student may practice only 5 to 10 minutes a night. In upper elementary, the practice sessions could be 10 to 15 minutes a night.

If the student is just beginning to learn keyboarding as a teenager, it may be necessary to extend the practice sessions to 15 to 20 minutes a night. The consistency of the practice is critical. Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn appropriate keyboarding.

Offering access to a variety of programs helps decrease boredom and allows for choice, as the student may select different software each night. Alternate programs have also been developed which teach keyboarding skills based on the alphabetical sequence. One such program starts with the left hand and uses a poem which begins, "little finger a, reach for b, same finger c, d, e," King, Initially, as the student is learning, correct finger should not be required when he is typing for content, as this greatly increases the demands on active working memory.

For most students, the habits developed during typing practice will eventually integrate with the finger used while concentrating on ideation and content. Once a student learns word-processing skills, she will have the option of progressing to use of voice-activated software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Such software allows the student to dictate into a microphone without the need for direct typing on the keyboard. However, this is a higher level skill which is much more efficient once the student knows and understands basic word processing and writing skills.

Clear enunciation, lack of slurring words, and use a precise preplanning and organization are critical for success with voice-activated programs. This is particularly laborious for older students in high school or college, who have much greater note taking demands. While a laptop computer can be efficient, it can be cumbersome to carry around.

Also, it is expensive to fix or replace a vandalized, dropped, or otherwise broken computer. A successful alternative that has become popular with some older students is the use of a personal digital assistant PDA such as the PalmPilot series or the Visor Handspring series. These units are quite small palm size and easy to transport in a backpack. A nearly standard size keyboard can be attached which greatly facilitates typing and, hence, note- taking.

This is especially useful for recording homework assignments and "to do" lists. For note-taking during a lecture, many students still require the assistance of a note-taker, even if the complete notes are only used as a backup. Many students who struggle with writing also have difficulties with spelling. Some students then simplify their word usage.

Other students just include the incorrectly spelled word. When such students use a staging approach, they can first focus on pre-organization and then writing or typing a draft.

A next step would be to go back and work on fixing misspelled words. Sometimes the spell checker on a computer does not help the student because the misspelled word is not close enough to correct. In such situations, the student should be taught to develop strong phonetic analysis skills so that she can learn to spell words phonetically, the way they sound.

Then the student will be able to utilize technology such as one of the Franklin Electronic Resources. In our office, the Language Master has been found to be very appropriate because of its large font size and speech clarity.

A common complaint of students who struggle to write is that their hand gets tired when writing. This can be due to a variety of factors. Some of the most common factors are inappropriate grip, a very tight pencil grip, or inefficient writing posture.

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Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Classroom Compensations. By: Regina G. Richards. I shake myself to stop daydreaming Writing is definitely the worst task of all.

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Help students become better writers. Carnegie Mellon University Share Useful Strategies with Students. Many of the writing strategies we take for granted (e.g., how to write an introduction, how to research relevant sources) are not at all obvious to our students. And yet, these issues arise so frequently that there are resources available.

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Children need lots of practice with writing to develop their skills in the elementary years. Parents can help at home with these activities and ideas. Ways to help students strengthen their writing skills.

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Resources and tips to help students with dyslexia build writing skills, including strengthening sequencing skills. Helping Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia Improve Writing Skills . We’re pleased you want to know how to help the NCTE effort to improve the writing of young people. Parents and teachers working together are the best means for assuring that children and youth will become skillful writers. Be as helpful as you can in helping children write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they.