Writing Interventions That You Can Use in Your Classroom Today
Are you looking for writing interventions for your students? If so, we have you covered. In this article, we will discuss, in detail, writing interventions that you can use in your classroom today.
Fluency: Have Learners Write Every Day
Short daily writing assignments can build learner writing fluency and make writing a motivating activity. For struggling writers, writing can resemble a foreign language with its set of grammatical rules and vocabulary. Just as people learn a second language more quickly and gain confidence when they use it frequently, however, struggling writers gradually develop into better writers when prompted to write daily–and receive rapid feedback and encouragement about that writing. The instructor can encourage daily writing by giving short writing assignments, allowing learners to journal about their learning experiences, requiring that they communicate daily with pen pals via email, or posting a question on the board that learners can respond to in writing for extra credit. Daily writing assignments have the potential to lower learners’ aversion to writing and increase their confidence.
Fluency: Self-Monitor and Graph Results to Increase Writing Fluency
Learners gain motivation to write through daily monitoring and charting of their and classwide rates of writing fluency. A few times per week, assign your learners timed periods of ‘freewriting’ when writing in their journals. Freewriting periods at the same time each day. After each freewriting period, direct each learner to count the number of words they have written in the daily journal entry. Next, tell learners to record their personal writing-fluency score in their journal and chart their time-series graph for visual feedback. Then collect the day’s writing-fluency marks of all learners in the class, and calculate those scores. At the beginning of each week, calculate that week’s goal of increasing collective class words written by increasing last week’s math score by five percent. At the end of the week, review the class score and praise learners if they have shown good effort. Instruction:
Fluency: Essentials of Good Teaching Benefit Struggling Writers
Instructors are most successful in reaching learners with writing delays when their instruction emphasizes the entire writing process, offers lots of models of good writing and gives learners timely editorial feedback. Good instructors develop their written expression lessons around the 3 stages of writing –planning, writing, and revision— and make those stages explicit. Skilled instructors also provide learners with ‘think sheets’ that step-by-step outline strategies for tackle the different phases of a writing assignment. Learners become stronger writers when exposed to different kinds of expressive content, such as persuasive, narrative, and expository writing. Instructors can make learners more confident as writers when they give them access t examples of good prose models that the learner can review when completing a writing assignment. Finally, strong writing instructors provide supportive and timely feedback to learners about their writing. When instructors or classmates offer writing feedback to the learner, they are honest and maintain an encouraging tone.
Motivation: Stimulate Interest With An Autobiography Assignment
Assigning the class to write their autobiographies can motivate hard-to-reach learners who seem uninterested in most writing assignments. Have learners read a series of autobiographies of people who interest them. Discuss these biographies with the class. Then assign learners to write their autobiographies. Allow learners to read their autobiographies out loud.
Organization: Build a Writing Outline by Talking Through the Topic
Learners who struggle to organize their notes into an outline can explain what they know about the topic—and then capture the logical structure of that conversation to create an outline. The learner studies note from the topic and describe what they know about the topic and its significance to a listener. (The learner may want to audio-record this conversation for later playback.) After the conversation, the learner jots down an outline from memory to capture the structure and main ideas of the discussion.
Organization: Reverse Outline’ the Draft
Learners can improve the internal flow of their compositions through ‘reverse outlining.’ The learner writes a draft of the composition. Next, the learner reads through the draft, jotting notes in the margins that signify the main idea of each paragraph or section. Then the learner organizes the margin notes into an outline to reveal the organizational structure of the paper. This ‘reverse outline’ allows the learner to note whether sections of the draft that repeat themselves are out of order or do not connect with one another.
Planning: Brainstorm to Break the ‘Idea’ Logjam
Brainstorming is a method that can help learners to generate motivating topics for writing assignments and ideas to improve their compositions. Here are 4 brainstorming strategies to teach to learners: Freewriting: The learner sets a time limit and writes until the limit is reached. The writer doesn’t judge the writing but writes as quickly as possible, capturing any thought that comes to mind on the topic. Later, the learner reviews the freewriting to pick out any ideas, terms, or phrasing incorporated into the writing assignment. Listing: The learner selects a topic based on a key term related to the writing assignment. The writer then brainstorms a list of any items that might relate to the topic. Lastly, the writer reviews the list to select items that might be useful in the assigned composition or trigger additional writing ideas. Similes: The learner selects a series of key terms or concepts linked to the writing assignment. Using the framework of a simile, the learner brainstorms:” _1_ is like _2_.” The learner plugs a key term into the first blank and then generates as many similes as possible. References: The learner jots down key ideas or terms from the writing assignment. They then browse through various reference works looking for entries that bring about useful ideas.
Proofreading: Teach A Memory Strategy
When learners use an easily memorized plan for proofreading, the quality of their writing can improve. Create a poster to be placed in your classroom summarizing the SCOPE proofreading elements: (1) Spelling: Are my words spelled correctly; (2) Capitalization: Have I capitalized all the correct words, including first words of sentences, proper nouns, and proper names?; (3) Sequence of words: Is my word order correct?; (4) Punctuation: Did I use punctuation marks correctly? (5) Expression of thoughts: Do all of my sentences contain a noun and verb to convey a thought? Review the proofreading steps by copying the first draft sample onto a smart board and evaluating the sample with the class using the items from the SCOPE poster. Then direct learners to pair off and together evaluate their writing samples using SCOPE. When learners appear to understand the use of the SCOPE plan, require that they use this strategy to proofread all written assignments before submitting them.
Proofreading: Use Selective Proofreading With Highlighting of Errors
To stop writers from getting discouraged by instructor proofreading corrections, focus on 1 or 2 proofreading areas when correcting a writing assignment. Create a learner’ writing skills checklist’ that inventories key writing competencies (e.g., grammar/syntax, spelling, vocabulary, etc.). For each writing assignment, announce to learners that you will grade the assignment for overall content and make proofreading corrections on only 1-2 areas chosen from the writing skills checklist. Also, to prevent cluttering the learner’s paper with potentially discouraging instructor comments and editing marks, underline problems in the learner’s content with a highlighter and number the highlighted errors sequentially at the left margin of the learner paper. Then (if necessary), write instructor comments on a separate feedback sheet to explain the writing errors. (Identify each comment with the matching error number from the left margin of the learner’s worksheet.) With fewer proofreading comments, the learner can better attend to the instructor’s feedback. Also, even a heavily edited learner assignment looks neat when instructors use the highlighting/numbering technique—preventing learners from becoming discouraged at the site of an assignment scribbled over with corrective comments.
Proofreading: Leverage the Power of Memory Through Cover-Copy-Compare to Teach Spelling
Learners increase their spelling knowledge by copying a spelling word from a correct model and then recopying the same word from memory. Give learners a list of 10-20 spelling words, an index card, and a blank piece of paper. For each word on the list, the learner 1. copies the spelling list item onto a piece of paper, 2. covers the newly copied word with the index card, 3. writes the spelling word again on the sheet, and 4. uncovers the copied word and makes sure that the word copied from memory is spelled correctly. If that word is spelled incorrectly, the learner repeats the sequence above until the word copied from is spelled correctly–then moves to the next word on the spelling list.