Pre-writing and planning are the first two steps in the writing process (pre-writing, planning, writing, revising, editing, and publishing) and yet many students struggle with this step. A good plan helps students get their ideas down, helps them break the large writing process into manageable chunks, and keeps them on track. Keep reading for 5 ways to help students plan their writing.
- Model. Writing can be a big task and students benefit from having writing modelled. I like to show a writing prompt to the the class and then create an outline together. This will look different depending on if you are writing a paragraph or an essay. Work as a class to come up with a topic for each paragraph and some ideas for details and examples underneath. Then, model how you would write from that outline.
- Let students plan together. After modelling how to plan out a writing assignment, let students work in partners to create a plan. From there, students can either use the co-created plan as their writing base or let they can create their own plan to use.
- Teach brainstorming. In brainstorming, students write out everything that they can think of without editing it. Teach students how to brainstorm after a prompt and then how to select and organize the ideas that they brainstormed.
- Use a good prompt. A good prompt is one that helps students generate multiple ideas on how to respond to the prompts. Check out my Writing Prompt Round-up for a series of writing prompts or my post 15 Creative Writing Prompts. I particularly like the prompts by John Spencer as they provide a visual video prompt as well as a series of subsequent questions after the prompt to help students develop ideas.
- Use a template such as one of my FREE ones found on Teachers Pay Teachers. These templates provide a visual way for students to plan out their writing. Students benefit from modelling how to complete these. Pick one of the templates, provide a prompt, and then model how to complete the template. Allow students to either write from the modelled outline or create their own. Once you have taught them how to use the outline, provide it as a resource for future writing assignments.
Writing can be tricky for some students, but the above suggestions are sure to help with the pre-writing and planning process. What are your favourite ways to help students pre-write and plan? Let me know in the comments below!