Writing tip: Process vs. product
How many times should a student rewrite a composition? Depends on who you ask. If you ask the student, she’ll emphatically reply, “Once!” Not only that, she wants you to love that paper, slap a gold star on it, and pronounce it stellar. Should you suggest a revision, you’re met with howls of protest.
But in the real world, rough drafts—unpolished writing—go by other names: phone messages, shopping lists, e-mails, timed essays. Chances are, just about anything else that’s printed and published has gone through more than one revision.
Tip 2: Explain that writing is the process and the composition is the product.
Start early. Children as young as kindergarten can discover the simplest steps of planning and writing. They can also learn to make changes such as adding detail or ending a sentence with a period. WriteShop Primary is a great way to introduce your early elementary student to the writing process in the gentlest way.
The benefits for older students are many. Through the writing process, they learn to follow a routine, pace themselves, and become accountable to deadlines. Here’s a brief overview of the five steps.
- Brainstorming: Thinking through a topic using a graphic organizer or planning tool.
- Rough draft: Putting words and ideas onto paper without fear of perfection.
- Self-editing: Using a checklist to identify measurable errors and make simple corrections, and then writing a second draft.
- Parent editing: Using an objective checklist to suggest improvements to the second draft.
- Final draft: Polishing the composition so the student can share it proudly.
For students in junior high or high school, you’ll find WriteShop to be one of the most effective tools for teaching the writing process. For beginning and average writers in 7th-10th grades, consider WriteShop I. For students in grades 8-11 who need a bit more challenge, take a look at WriteShop II.