Search form

How to Teach Students to Become Better Writers

We can all agree that writing is a crucial skill. As children, it was one of the first activities we were introduced to but as we grew older, other subjects took center stage and working on writing skills was no longer as important as it should have been.

This is unfortunate because writing is a skill that comes to use in every sphere of our lives. Be it academic, creative or business writing – it lets us express ourselves and put our thoughts into words. It is something that stays with us even after our academic life is over.

When asked if teaching writing is important, Ali Haider, executive director of the Austin, Texas-based creative writing center, the Austin Bat Cave said, “When students own their voices and tell their stories, they become not only stronger and more confident writers, but also stronger and more confident individuals.”

Yes, teaching writing is vital because it empowers students and helps them progress. So, here are 5 useful ways you can help your students become better writers -

Encourage Them to Read Extensively

The first step to becoming a better writer is to read. Now, the question is how do you encourage your students to read when prefer spending time on Instagram or watching Netflix?

Firstly, for them to take reading seriously, you need to take it seriously. Choose a book, ask your students to read it and at the end of every month, make it a point to discuss that book as a class activity.

Instead of framing questions and making it look like just another assessment, make this a fun process. Let students share what they took away from the book and what their reading experience was. They should be encouraged to read the book to understand the nuances of writing and not treat it like a comprehension.

Introduce Different Genres

If you were to leave it to students, they will most likely stick to the genre they are comfortable writing in. You need to push them out of their comfort zone because how else will they know that they are capable of much more?

Pick a genre every week and have students write on it. From fantasy and fairy tale to fiction and non-fiction – every genre demands a different approach.

It might sound intimidating at first but while handing out the assignment, discuss the unique characteristics of the genre and ease them into it. You can also share written work from the particular genre for them to gain some inspiration.

Create a Positive Environment

Developing a writing community is not enough. You need to ensure you create a positive and inviting atmosphere that encourages students to shed their inhibitions and let their creativity flow.

An effective way of making this happen is by getting students to come together to discuss each other’s writings. You can moderate this discussion, give them the prompts and aid the discussion. Creating a sense of community instils confidence and gets them to respect each other’s work. This motivates them to write better, share their work and learn from each other.

Design Scoring Guides

Designing and sharing scoring guides or rubrics with students makes them aware of what is expected out of them and how they will be assessed. It’s important to set clear expectations and ensure everyone is on the same page. This saves time and you are bound to see an improvement in their writing by doing this.  

The scoring/grading guide can include elements such as the structure of writing, grammar, style, choice of words, how they start their essay and how they conclude among others.

Offer Constructive Feedback

The nature of your feedback can make all the difference. Not giving feedback or giving poor, irrelevant feedback can demotivate students.

You need to give well-thought of feedbacks that are meaningful, constructive and timely. If you like something the student has written, highlight what stood out for you. Similarly, when you have negative feedback to share, be specific and justify everything you say while keeping your tone positive.

It is also a good idea to relate your assessment to the scoring guide and specify areas of improvement to drive your message home. 

Written by Adela Belin, Contributing Writer

A writer and artist, Adela Belin is passionate about sharing stories with a hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. 

Copyright© 2019 Education World