Evidence-based practices for teaching writing

Amy Gillespie and Steve Graham reveal the techniques that have been proven to work when teaching students to write

WRITING IS A MULTIFACETED TASK THAT involves the use and coordination of many cognitive processes. Due to its complexities, many students find writing challenging and many teachers struggle to find methods to effectively teach the skill.

What we know
Evidence-based practices for teaching writing include:
● Teaching strategies for planning, revising, and editing
● Having students write summaries of texts
● Permitting students to write collaboratively with peers
● Setting goals for student writing
● Allowing students to use a word processor
● Teaching sentence combining skills
● Using the process writing approach
● Having students participate in inquiry activities for writing
● Involving students in prewriting activities
● Providing models of good writing
Teachers should supplement their current writing practices and curricula with a combination of evidence-based practices that best meets the needs of their students.

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February 2011