Struggling writers can benefit greatly from a few interventions. Here are five of the best ways to improve confidence and skills in writing.
1. Read as much as possible
My struggling writers often have trouble coming up with ideas. Ideation can be improved through regular reading. Studies have shown that reading expands vocabulary as well as general knowledge. Reading also helps kids understand what good writing sounds like. Confident readers are confident writers.
2. Scaffold with scrambled paragraphs
Scrambled paragraphs are a great way to get kids thinking about text structure. They can reduce the cognitive load for students who are still struggling with paragraph writing. Additionally, this hands-on activity helps kids practice finding the main idea and supporting details.
3. Provide structure with the RACE Strategy
The RACE Strategy is a mnemonic device that helps kids remember how to answer a question with textual evidence. This highly structured technique has proven to be extremely effective. It builds kids’ confidence and automaticity when responding to a text-based question.
My students, including students with disabilities, found this strategy beneficial. They would recite it to themselves and even make their own RACE checklists when they were asked to write paragraphs of their own.
4. Provide choice when it comes to writing prompts.
Choice is crucial for reluctant and struggling writers. Giving them choice helps kids feel in control, and allows them to chose topics they find interesting. I have created 100 writing prompts for middle schoolers here. I like to use these prompts as a daily writing exercise. Kids especially enjoy writing about themselves and their future plans, as well as their own opinions.
5. Make them the teacher through correcting writing errors
Finally, correcting common errors can help improve student writing. Struggling writers sometimes lack knowledge of grammar rules. One way to reinforce and practice these rules is to let them practice editing.
Do you have reluctant or struggling writers? What strategies have you found most effective? Let me know in the comments!