Learning how to communicate clearly and effectively through writing will help your students develop into critical thinkers as they go through school. Writing is a skill that they will use throughout their lives. When students are taught how to write effectively at a young age, they can use this skill when they get into the upper grades and venture out into the world.
Here are 4 ways to encourage writing in your classroom:
Use writing prompts and sentence starters
Writing prompts are a great way to get your students interested in writing. You could start with a daily prompt and have your students write for five minutes. Then have them take one sentence from what they have written and expand on it with sensory details to make it more interesting. This method can also be used as a kickoff to a bigger writing assignment. Sometimes all they need to do is get started. Once they have some direction and they get some of their ideas out on paper, they can decide what they would like to focus or expand on for a longer essay.
Orally share ideas in groups before having students write
Having students share aloud before they write can help them to develop their ideas. You can provide topics for discussion and have them brainstorm as a group to come up with ideas to write about. As they think aloud, they can build on each other’s ideas to prepare for writing.
After the discussion, have your students choose one idea that they would like to focus on. Have them write a topic sentence and share them with the group. After receiving feedback from their group members, they can continue writing a whole paragraph about their chosen topics.
Hold weekly writing conferences with your students
Students need individual attention so that teachers can identify areas in which they struggle. By holding writing conferences, you can discuss what is working well for your students and what they need to focus on to improve their writing skills. The rest of the class could use this time to write individually. This is an excellent time to use writing prompts or sentence starters.
Keep a writing portfolio
Students should keep a writing portfolio. This should include any writing that they do in class or for homework. They should keep all drafts because writing is a process. They should be given the opportunity to revise drafts, going through several revisions until it is polished. Students should also be allowed to choose which drafts they will revise.They should write often so that they have ample material to work with.
At the end of the year, students should have eight to ten polished writing pieces that have gone through the revision process and show significant improvement, along with all of the writing they have done throughout the year.