Teaching good writing skills is not as simple as it may sound. Though there are some basic structural components that educators typically focus on, everyone knows that good writing involves something more.
Tapping into student creativity is a vital part of unleashing that hidden potential. But how, as a teacher, do you do that? There are no lesson plans to tap creativity, right? Well, maybe there are.
According to research, the most effective methods to improve student writing are fairly simple to do, but many teachers are not using them.
There are three tips found to improve student writing. Allowing students to type their story is one of them.
Steve Graham, a professor of education at Arizona State University, monitors the numerous research studies conducted to evaluate the best methods to teaching writing. He recently studied the results of 250 separate writing studies to compile an overall synopsis of best practices for teachers.
“We have confirmation of things we know that work, but are not applied in the classroom,” said Graham.
3 Tips for Teaching Kids to Write Well:
1) Practice, practice, practice: Like playing a sport or anything else, the more one practices the greater their skills become. This applies to writing too. Research from five different studies, which examined exceptional literacy skills in students, discovered that great teachers ask their students to write frequently. In nine experiments conducted with students, adding 15 more minutes of writing time per day in grades two through eight produced better writing. Seventy-eight percent of studies testing the impact of extra writing found that students’ writing quality improved. Other bonuses were that more writing time improved reading skills and other academic performance as a whole. Studies show that kids who learn how to write their own stories well, also develop methods to better organize their thoughts, and even communicate better.
2) Type it out: Though many educators are adamant that writing by hand improves comprehension, 83% of the studies focused on word processing concluded that student writing quality improved when typing on a computer rather than writing by hand. The idea is that the easier it is for students to edit their sentences, the more likely they are to do so – improving sentence structure, word choice, and clarity. The study results were most clear when it came to middle school students.
3) Focus less on grammar, more on writing more: Teaching grammar often doesn’t translate to quality writing. Six studies of children grades three to seven concluded that students who had been taught traditional grammar scored lower than those who did not. Graham believes the reason for this may be that, for younger students, grammar lessons are often separate from writing. But largely, the lessons seemed to get in the way of writing quality. What did work, in three different studies is teaching kids how to combine two simple sentences into a single complex sentence.
The more students write, the better their skills. Add at least 15 more minutes to their writing time each day.
What Can You Do Right Now?
The takeaway here is that writing should be encouraged, made to be creative and fun, and done much more frequently in the classroom. Add at least 15 minutes to each day of classroom activity and you will see results down the road. Make it a fun project, like publishing their first book at easy to use, free sites like Bookemon.com. There you will find resources and you can create your own educator account to Try it out (for educator-related articles) for free!