Good Writing Skills

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Good writing skills are part of the communication domain. It is essential for professionals to understand how to assess a child's ability to write in the Classroom Communication Domain.

Learning writing skills is important because many parts of it are the foundational skills of literacy.

The writing must be purposeful and able to be used in all content areas. This is of particular importance now in the Common Core State Standards.

good writing skills in the classroom

Improving writing skills in any of the components is done through focused lessons and daily practice.

Students also need to know that you value teaching writing to them and want them to learn to love writing.

Writing Lessons

There are 6 domains for learning good writing skills on the Classroom Performance Matrix:

  • Emergent Writing
  • Writing Vocabulary
  • Text Structures
  • Writing Process and Organization
  • Writing Conventions
  • Language Structure

Depending on the age level you teach, your writing lessons will likely focus only a few of these at a time.

This page will condense the domains, but it is by no means exhaustive. The areas are: Emergent Skills, Writing Vocabulary and Writing Content/Structure/Mechanics.

Emergent Skills

Younger writers begin with developmental gains that set the foundation for future success in reading and writing.

Students have to understand that print expresses meaning and can serve different purposes.

Assessing Emergent Skills

The student should:

  • Consistently uses either the right or left hand
  • Correct pencil grip
  • Goes print orientation for specific language (left-to-right, right-to-left, up-down)
  • Correctly uses spaces and lines
  • Uses invented spelling
  • Correctly forms print and cursive letters
  • Begins to write to tell a story or give a message

Writing Vocabulary

Just as having a good listening vocabulary is necessary for listening comprehension, an excellent working vocabulary for writing is essential.

Students must be able to use their knowledge of words to express their thoughts and ideas on paper. They also have to have a wide enough vocabulary to be able to express meaning across genres.

Assessing Writing Vocabulary

The student should:

  • Use developmentally appropriate vocabulary
  • Make effective word choices to convey meaning
  • Use different words to convey similar meanings
  • Use descriptive words
  • Uze figurative language to enhance imagery
  • Match word choices to text genre
  • Be able to use a variety of resources to select vocabulary

Writing Structure, Mechanics and Content

Students with good writing skills adhere to correct structure, content and writing mechanics. The structures for writing vary according to the genre: narrative, expository, persuasive, journals, poetry, notes, letters, etc.

Process and organization are part of the content. We know we want our students to be able to write creatively, but we also want them to be able to organize their writing in a way that is pleasing to the reader.

As far as process, we teach general guidelines but I have found that many students develop their own writing process that is effective for them. I always teach the writing process steps, but allow for individualization and differentiation.

Assessing Writing Structure, Mechanics and Content

The student should:

  • Use text structure examples to write different genres
  • Uses dialogue, inferences, sub-topics and details
  • Gives appropriate amounts of support for main idea
  • Can express ideas, humor and imagination through written text
  • Creates webs, graphic organizers, mind maps or diagrams to organize ideas and details
  • Brainstorms or generates independent ideas
  • Writes a variety of sentences
  • Writes structured and coherent paragraphs
  • Proofreads selections and makes appropriate corrections
  • Edits and rewrites final copies for both meaning and mechanics
  • Seeks others to provide feedback
  • Prepares writing for publication
  • Shares writing with others as a means of self-expression

If a student is struggling with completing a writing task after planning it, there may be a deficit in executive communication skills.

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