Writing Next: Eleven Teaching Strategies That Work

writing dog

Dr. Jung at Lewis University shared this list of teaching strategies with us recently. It is unfortunate that many of our students lag behind when it comes to writing. The study is a bit dated, but the strategies are still excellent. Check them out:


In 2006, Carnegie Corporation of New York commissioned a pair of leading scholars—Steve Graham of Vanderbilt University and Delores Perin of Teachers College, Columbia University—to survey the existing research into the effectiveness of various approaches to secondary school writing instruction. The most recent comprehensive review of the research had been conducted twenty years earlier (Hillocks, 1986), and a considerable body of research had accumulated since that time, including many high-quality experimental and quasi-experimental studies. As described in the report, the knowledge base has grown strong enough to recommend a number of specific teaching practices and to suggest new directions for state and federal policymaking. The resulting report—Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High School, published by the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2006—identifies eleven classroom practices that rigorous scientific research has determined to be effective at helping to improve the writing abilities of students in grades 4–12. These include:

Writing Strategies: Teaching students strategies for planning, revising, and editing their compositions.

Summarization: Explicitly and systematically teaching students how to summarize texts.

Collaborative Writing: Instructional arrangements in which adolescents work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions.

Specific Product Goals: Specific, reachable goals for the writing they are to complete.

Word Processing: Using computers as instructional supports for writing assignments.

Sentence Combining: Teaching students to construct more complex, sophisticated sentences.

Prewriting: Engaging students in activities designed to help them generate or organize ideas for their composition.

Inquiry Activities: Engaging students in analyzing immediate, concrete data to help them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task.

Process Writing Approach: Interweaving a number of writing instructional activities in a workshop environment that stresses extended writing opportunities, writing for authentic audiences, personalized instruction, and cycles of writing.

Study of Models: Providing students with opportunities to read, analyze, and emulate models of good writing.

Writing for Content Learning: Using writing as a tool for learning content material.

Visit www.all4ed.org for more information.

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