It’s no secret that many students lack the writing skills that are expected for success in an academic environment. Indeed, when high school graduates come to college, a growing number are placed in remedial writing courses in order to build skills that they did not develop in high school. Similarly, employers routinely report that job candidates entering the market have weaker writing and communication skills than in years past, even while communication skills rank among the top skills that employers are looking for.
So, if students aren’t up to snuff with their writing skills, what should you do in order to develop your students’ writing skills? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways that students can develop their writing skills to become stronger and more effective communicators.
Ways to Improve Student Writing
In order to develop writing skills, you first must develop reading skills. Good writers are first and foremost good readers. So, one of the best ways to develop students’ writing skills is to inculcate a love of reading. Encourage students to engage in free-reading, letting them choose the material that they want to read so they can develop excitement and passion for reading. The more that a student reads, the more the student will pick up on the way language can be used to convey ideas gracefully, how to assemble stories and arguments, and how to use evidence and reasoning to develop a thesis. One place to start is to encourage students to read novels they enjoy and then encourage them to read nonfiction related to the same topics covered in the novels they like.
Emphasize a breath of reading, not just depth. Students should read about many different topics in many different genres to develop an appreciation for the many different ways that writers explore the world around them.
Once students have developed a strong desire for reading, they can more easily be directed into writing.
Make Writing Fun
Writing can be framed as an extension of reading, by giving students the opportunity to write their own stories and expand on what they read. Making writing fun is a terrific way to build writing skills. For example, you might encourage students to engage in free-writing activities that involve telling their own stories set in fictional universes (fan fiction) or writing about issues that are of importance to them or that they feel passionate about. When they feel a personal connection to their writing, they’ll be more likely to want to write and thus give it more attention and care. Indeed, you might choose to engage them in their chosen format. Most students today are avid texters and social media posters. Remind them that social media posts are a type of writing and encourage them to think about how they could write better, sharper, more focused and effective social media posts that can appeal to specific audiences. The key is to tie specific writing skills to activities they do every day.
Professional Writing Help
Some students might benefit from receiving expert help with their essays and college papers from academic writers at professional writing services – reliable, legitimate and affordable. Ordering a customer-written paper from an online service can be a fast and effective way of getting writing help. Students can benefit from seeing how a professional writer might approach a topic and what writers do differently at a professional level than students who are still learning. By examining these papers and back-engineering from a finished product, they can learn how to use and cite sources, how to format a paper, and how to support a thesis statement with clear arguments and well-developed arguments. This kind of help is much more effective when the paper is on the same subject as the student’s own.
Encourage Writing Every Day
Writing shouldn’t be a discrete activity that students do once in a while or when they are assigned work. Look for ways to make writing part of their everyday life. One way to encourage daily writing is to give them a journal and the freedom to fill it out any way they would like, as long as they produce a fixed amount of writing every day. Writing a little bit every day will help to keep their skills sharp and give them the encouragement and confidence to keep on writing. Plus, a journal format lets them share their own thoughts. They might choose to do so privately as a diary or publicly in a blog, newsletter, or social media format. The key, though, is to make sure they write every day.
As mentioned above, writing every day doesn’t have to be formal. Informal free-writing can also build skills as students work through writing issues and problems on their own. Social media posts and even text messages can be key ways of building writing skills, even if students don’t realize that they are learning by doing.
Another great way to encourage writing skills is to develop peer review activities where students can critique one another’s work. It is often easier to hear what is good or bad about one’s writing from a friend or a peer than from an instructor, especially in a low-pressure situation where you aren’t being graded on the writing. This process can help students to think critically about what works and what doesn’t work as they explore one another’s writing and think about it from an academic perspective.