It’s tough to fix what you don’t know is broken
Poor writers rarely build a clear vision of their final outcome and often possess a limited ability to assume the reader’s perspective. As a result, it is difficult for them to detect inaccuracies and mismatches between what they intended and the actual text. Studies have shown that elementary students are better able to detect problems and revise when reading a paper written by someone else than when reading their own work. Young writers, and those less competent in writing, presuppose too much shared understanding between themselves and their readers.
Effective writing instruction for students of all ages and abilities
∞ Explicit teacher modeling of the writing process and composing strategies
∞ Peer collaboration and teacher conferencing to gain informative feedback
∞ Use of procedural prompts (e.g., graphic organizers, mnemonics, outlines, checklists, rubrics) to facilitate planning and revising
∞ Limiting barriers produced by poor text transcription (e.g., dictating)
∞ Self-regulation (e.g., self-statements and questions)
Explicit modeling is a core element because simply being exposed to the writing process is insufficient for most students. Demonstration using overt mental dialogue is effective because it permits novice writers to observe the tactics and motives of more experienced authors and to appropriate more sophisticated thinking and language to their independent writing endeavors.
Sustained writing nearly every day embedded within a predictable routine should be a staple of classroom writing instruction if students are expected to demonstrate mastery over writing content, style, organization, and conventions.
Troia, G. A. (2007). Research in writing instruction: What we know and what we need to know. In M. Pressley, A. K. Billman, K. H. Perry, K. E. Refitt, & J. M. Reynolds (Eds.), Shaping literacy achievement: Research we have, research we need (pp. 129-156). New York: Guilford Press.