Are you searching for ways to improve writing skills of young writers without pulling your hair out?
I’ve been there. The challenge is to encourage growth without crushing them in red ink. In this 2 part article, I am going to share my favorite and most effective methods to improve writing with younger students.
Improve Writing With a Visual Rubric
Now rubrics aren’t anything new. However traditional rubrics didn’t help my 2nd graders much. They’d check off all the boxes without actually proofreading their work. In their mind, they had completed the assignment and were ready to be finished.
That’s where my visual rubric became more helpful.
Using a scale of 1-4, I provided examples of each level. The rubric includes sentences as well as illustration samples.
Level 1 had the least amount of writing and details. A draft might often fall into this category. So I’d have a brief conference with the child and ask “What other details could you add?” Or, “I’m still wondering _________. Could you tell me more about that?”
Level 2 has some more details, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Level 3 is where I’d like most of the class to reach. There are a few sentences with some initial attempts at including details.
Level 4 was the most detailed. This writer has the most developed writing skills for our grade level.
The purpose of the Good to Great visual rubric was to help students see concrete examples of work. We could look at their piece and show what they could do to make it better.
Improve Writing Word Choice
Here is another quick win for your young writers. Have the students replace an ordinary word with a more interesting or specific word. By focusing on one skill, it makes the revision process more doable. Challenge your student to replace 2-3 words with a better synonym. You might provide support through an anchor chart or bulletin board such as this.
This is my Instead of Said example. To create this bulletin board, enlist the help of your students. They can brainstorm their own words, or look through storybooks for examples. Type or write on colored paper. Eventually, you can turn this word list into a printable page for the students to keep in their writing notebooks or journals.
Working on poetry writing? This article has fun tips to support struggling writers and improve writing.
Or you can grab these ready-made resources at my store.
Next time, I will be explaining how to do Writing Circles. My students loved this, and so will you!