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A Tip for Creating Good Writers

By Dr. Felecia Nace, Family and Community Relations Office, New Jersey Department of Education

Help support the efforts of your child’s teachers at home by using a writing process chart.  The writing process involves a few simple steps that are used as a guide for creating well-developed writing skills.  In other words, the writing process ensures that the writer expresses what he/she means to articulate by helping the writer avoid senseless errors.

The writing process never changes; it is the same process we all use beginning in Kindergarten and continuing throughout our adult lives.  Whenever we sit down to write a letter, an email, an essay, a text message or even a simple note, we undergo a process to ensure that the message will be clear and effective.  We learn at an early age that the writing process is important.

You will find that many classrooms in various grade levels and subject areas display the steps for the writing process somewhere in the classroom.  The reason why many teachers post a writing process chart in classrooms other than just Language Arts classrooms is because good writing skills are expected to be exhibited in all subject areas.  For example, when a child is required to write a report for a Social Studies or Science class, they are expected to write an informative, clearly written paper.

Below, please find a general writing process chart that will give you and your child an idea of how to develop good writing skills. ** Please ask your child’s teacher (s) for a copy of the writing process chart that is presently being used in your child’s classes.  School districts’ writing process charts may differ slightly.

An Example of a Writing Process Chart

  1. Prewriting:  This is when your child will brainstorm ideas.  Give your child the option to write a list, talk about, or mentally think about the ideas he/she wants to express.

  2.  Drafting:  Your child should write sentences and develop paragraphs that connect his/her ideas.  During this first writing draft, there may be some errors.  Don’t worry. These errors can be corrected later in the writing process.

  3. Revising:  Make sure your child reads what he/she has written (more than once).  Take out words or phrases that don’t make sense or add words to make sentences and ideas clearer.  Your child should also replace dull words with more descriptive words and substitute lower level vocabulary words with vocabulary words that reflect your child’s grade/academic level.

  4. Editing:  Here, your child will check for spelling errors, capitalization and punctuation.  Your child should make sure that he/she has used complete sentences, and that proper grammar rules have been followed (for example: “ he have” should be corrected to read: “ he has”)

  5. Post-writing:  This is when the final copy is completed.  Your child can polish this copy by reading it aloud to you.  This will force your young writer to read exactly what he/ she has written, giving your child one last chance to correct any errors and aim for a perfect paper.

The more frequently your child uses the writing process steps, the greater the chances he/she will commit the steps to memory.  Parent, Ketura McCutcheon of Newark, stated:  “When my child was much younger, she constantly made small errors in writing.  I worked with her teachers in elementary school who encouraged me to use a writing process chart, and it has been extremely helpful in making my daughter a better writer.  She is now applying to colleges and uses the writing process to complete her college applications.”