Posted by Christy Williams on September 25th, 2015
Although daily practice is the key to improving a skill, there are always supporting activities to assist in grasping essential concepts. Writing is a foundation in adult education—it’s an element that spans subjects and is used in classes, tests, and projects. From writing a grocery list or an online social media post to structuring a paper or proposal, your students’ writing skills are a necessity to everyday life. Dedicating a small amount of time each day to writing practice can go a long way in improving writing skills.
Encourage your students to read often. It’s a simple message, but effective. The more types of reading your students consume, the more variety they can learn to write. Someone looking to improve their writing skills should be encouraged to read, and to study the type of writing they’re working on. Examples of a good essay, dialogue, short fiction piece, or any other kind of writing serves as an excellent platform for developing writing skills.
Teachers also use transcription to improve writing. Encourage students to record a conversation, an essay or a story. Then, replay the recording to transcribe it into the written word. Transcription demonstrates how writing is a form of conversation, an argument, or an informative lecture. Students can use their smartphones or tablets to record. Try one of many new apps:
- Voice Record Pro
- iTalk Recorder
- Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder
- Skyro Voice Recorder
People don’t always realize they use writing skills on a regular basis. Something as simple as a grocery list is a brainstorm, which is sometimes even broken down into categories. Prewriting activities can lead to a strong piece of writing:
- Brainstorming: This strategy helps writers choose a subject, develop the topic, and take a deeper look into it. Brainstorming is also a life skill—many companies use it as a collaborative effort to come up with new and innovative ideas.
- Freewriting: Freewriting is jotting down all the ideas or thoughts you have on a subject before beginning research. It is not about sentences, grammar, or punctuation, but rather getting all the information/ideas onto paper.
- Outlines: Outlines come in many different forms including mind-mapping, bullet points and alphanumeric. The one that works best often depends on individual learning styles. Outlines can help students discover what the assignment is, what the purpose is, the audience, thesis, and other crucial information.
- Journalistic Approach: This strategy identifies the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a piece in a straightforward, logical manner.
Studying the Writing Process
It’s important for students to understand that a great piece of writing undergoes a lot of stages and changes before it becomes a finished product. Teach your students to prewrite, write, edit, and revise. Plan activities for each step of the process to help them understand and practice each part of the writing process.
Utilizing Writing Exercises
Someone working on developing writing skills will find it comforting to know that even the best writers continue to practice on a regular basis. Writing exercises are commonly used in writing groups and educational settings. If there is a particular format or style a student is working on, find exercises that focus on developing those specific skills to help them improve.
Extensive writing resources and strategies are available to both students and teachers. Remind your students that working toward better writing skills is an investment in their future, regardless of the career path they choose.