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Writing Lesson Idea: Beginning Writing


New writers are often also reluctant writers. This lesson privides some topic ideas and exercises to encourage your student to start writing.

Adapted from Readers and Writers with a Difference by Lynn K. Rhodes and Curt Dudley-Martin.

  • Lined paper and sharpened pencils.
  • Topic selection—For two minutes the student makes a list of things that they know and care about in one column. Repeat the procedure in another column listing things they dislike. The student then circles one or two items from each list which could be expanded into a paragraph, story, or narrative.
  • Freewriting for five to ten minutes. The student writes down anything that occurs to him/her without making corrections. This is useful for compulsive editors or the hypercritical writer.
  • Journal writing works best if done daily. Students should date their entries. It may be helpful to set time and quantity expectations for the student.
  • Written conversation or Dialogue Journal—In written conversation, two people “talk” to each other about topics of interest to both of them, passing the paper back and forth. The nature of this activity encourages students to focus on ideas and to write rapidly so that the tutor can respond quickly. This format provides rapid feedback on the effectiveness of the student’s writing. If the tutor doesn’t understand something, a request for clarification can be made such as “What do you mean…” or “Tell me more about….” Written conversation also provides the student with an immediate model of writing. See also Teaching Adults, page 107.
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