Writing Strategies for Advanced Writers

This article is about writing strategies for Advanced Writers. You will find that there is much overlap between writing activities and support that benefit both your advanced writers and fluent English students. As well, you can draw on some of the suggestions that we’ve given you to support your intermediate-level students. Below we offer you a few more suggestions that provide writing support for your advanced students as they continue to expand their vocabulary and refine their written language.
1. Literature response journals
Even students at the advanced level may find it difficult to respond to literature in completely unstructured ways. A modification is to organize students into groups where by each one has a specific responsibility. For example, these roles can be word hunter, event analyzer, character analyzer, connector, and questioner. For each chapter in the book, the students maintain their responsibilities. The word hunter brings definitions of x number of words the group might have found difficult—no more than ten. The event analyzer searchers for the key event(s) that happened. The character analyzer focuses on the important things about the character(s). The connector works on making a connection in some way to the students’ lives. The questioner brings up important questions about this chapter. The students keep literature logs as they read and share with each other. This organization divides focus and responsibility, and it provides opportunities for student discussion. One of our graduate students did a study using this instructional tool with her sixth grade English learners and—to her amazement—found that it is a very effective instructional tool. She also found that her students held each other accountable for their responsibilities!
2. Hotseating/reader response
This instructional tool works especially well with older students. The whole class or group reads the same piece of literature. They then write questions they would like to ask one of the characters. Then, you form small groups, and each group studies one character and prepares one individual to sit in the “hot seat” to answer questions from the whole group. The students then write a reflection about a particular character or the
story line and make connections to their own lives and circumstances. The depth of analysis and reflection that students write about after hotseating will surprise you (Ogulnick, Shelton-Colangelo, & Williams, 1998).
3. Sentence patterns
As with intermediate writers, you should continue to point out sentence construction and words that will help your students’ comprehension and that they can use in their writing. Words like “moreover,” “nevertheless,” “however,” “ notwithstanding,” “ additionally,” and “although” are examples.
4. Double-entry journals
Both the left and right sides of the brain are involved in processing information with double-entry journals. First, students brainstorm on the left side of the page, asking questions and writing what they know or drawing pictures about the topic. The idea is to generate interest and activate prior knowledge the students may have. Immediately after instruction and reading, students write down what they remember from the lesson. Students will combine new knowledge with what they previously knew or answer questions they posed prior to nstruction (Ruddell, 2006).

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