Study Skills: Improve Your Writing

Some youngsters have a great amount  of difficulty with putting words on the page . There are diagnosable learning difficulties  , such as dysgraphia, that can present barriers to  the ability to put words on the page  . These  strategies might prove of benefit in alleviating some of the distress faced by parents, teachers and students  alike when writing is a challenging procedure  for the student.

1. Separate the tasks  of 'planner', 'author' and 'editor': People who experience difficulties with writing  often find it particularly hard to recall  the mechanics of writing. The basics of spelling, punctuation and grammar are inclined  to get ignored somewhere along the way when these students are attending to the actual  process of writing. To begin , put on the 'planner' hat to give birth to  and organize ideas. Secondly    put on the 'author' hat to get it down on the page. Finally , don  the 'editor' hat to get the technical aspects of writing right.

2. Do not jump straight in: Although a majority of  students  think that head down, pen down is what makes up the total  procedure  of writing, this really  doesn't  work for most of us. If you skip the planning stage , the initial  draft becomes so much more challenging to create . For some students it becomes impossible . I know that if I was going to climb Everest I would want a really detailed  plan developed . Remember that writing is just like tackling Everest for reluctant writers. Actually , some of them would no doubt rather try climbing Everest.

3. Begin the creative process: Any well-tuned machineneeds some time to get going . For a less  well-honed   machine this is even more essential . Start any writing session with a pre-writing activity . Use whiteboard brainstorming, index cards, sticky notes or mind maps to compose ideas. Mind maps are particularly recommended for hesitant writers as they are a graphic mode of taking notes . Creative and calming visualization may also be useful for relieving anxiety before a writing assignment .

4. Outline  the structure of the written piece : This need notbe a totally  intellectual process . Use index cards or sticky notes and physically move the ideas around. Join them together to hear how the paragraphs should be sorted within the overall structure of the essay . Each distinct idea or group of ideas becomes a paragraph or  series of paragraphs. Try and give each group a 'topic sentence', an introductory sentence that links the ideas within the paragraph into one unit  and gives the reader a brief introduction to the primary  idea behind the paragraph.

5. Wear the 'author' hat: The next stage is to prepare the initial draft. This is where the student puts all the organized paragraphs into a sequence. In this stage the student can't be thinking about spelling, punctuation or other 'editor' tasks. Instead,the student is in 'author' mode and should be concentrating only about the structure  of the piece and the coherence of the writing. Just getting it on the page in the organized structure is enough during this phase.

6. Read it to another person: When the first draft is finished the writer should read the narrative out loud, preferably to somebody else , in order to hear if it flows properly and if anything needs to be extended or clarified -- teachers like to see the use of examples and clear , sharp writing with appropriate and relevant detail. The students should ask themselves "Does it sound right?", "Does it make sense?", and "Do I need to add anything more?"

7. Wear the 'editor' hat: In the last stage , the role of the 'editor' comes in to play . The writer should edit for run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and the correct use of capital letters. A simple checklist may be a useful resource to remind the student the points they need to  concentrate on when they edit their piece of writing.

8. Use technology : Making use of a computer can be helpful in the process of writing , particularly for reluctant writers. There is a characteristic that is  intrinsically motivating about a computer screen and the simple fact that there is no pen and paper around is something of a gift for reluctant writers. There are several software applications that help writers to enhance their typing efficiency . Also, software developers are always coming up with new and improved solutions for students with reading and writing difficulties . For example , applications with speech recognition and text prediction are far more common and more reliable than they were even just a few years ago.

9. Choose your arguments wisely: The school day and  study programs shouldn't be a constantbattle of wills. This is emotionally painful for parents, teachers and students. Set reachable and realistic targets for the amount of writing required or for the amount of time spent on an assignment . Remember that the task of writing is an onerous job for some students and that they may  need  frequent breaks to organize themselves for the next attempt or extra time periods to finish a piece of writing.

10. Praise the effort : Praise is probably more important than a tangible reward (although most kids and adults like the tangible ones as well). In celebrating achievement , always focus on the effort involved and how much it was appreciated by everyone . Be positive in pointing out areas that have improved and be constructive in describing aspects that require greater attention . For the latter, keep the quantity of constructive criticisms to a minimum. It is best to concentrate on one thing at a time.

The evidence shows that writing can be a daunting chore for some people. Despite this , there are strategies that teachers and parents can utilize so that the fear of tacklinga writing assignment can be addressed . With time, resilience and patience , these individuals may get to feel  the  satisfaction that results from finishing a well-developedpiece of writing.

Be Sociable, Share!

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment