Practice Guide Summaries: Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers


The What Works Clearinghouse practice guides are designed to provide succinct recommendations that address challenges educators encounter in their classrooms and schools. The Lead for Literacy Center Practice Guide Summaries provide actionable evidence-based recommendations that are most relevant to literacy leaders in the elementary grades.


1

Provide daily time for students to write.

  1. Teach students strategies for the various components of the writing process.
  2. Gradually release writing responsibility from the teacher to the student.
  3. Guide students to select and use appropriate writing strategies.
  4. Encourage students to be flexible in their use of the components of the writing process.
 

2a

Teach students the writing process.

  1. Teach students strategies for the various components of the writing process.
  2. Gradually release writing responsibility from the teacher to the student.
  3. Guide students to select and use appropriate writing strategies.
  4. Encourage students to be flexible in their use of the components of the writing process.
 

2b

Teach students to write for a variety of purposes.

  1. Help students understand the different purposes of writing.
  2. Expand students' concept of audience.
  3. Teach students to emulate the features of good writing.
  4. Teach students techniques for writing effectively for different purposes.
 

3

Teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing, and word processing

  1. Teach very young writers how to hold a pencil correctly and form letters frequently and efficiently.
  2. Teach students to spell words correctly.
  3. Teach students to construct sentences for fluency, meaning, and style.
  4. Teach students to type fluently and to use a word processor to compose.
 

4

Create an engaged community of writers.

  1. Teachers should participate as members of the community by writing and sharing their writing.
  2. Give students writing choices.
  3. Encourage students to collaborate as writers.
  4. Provide students with opportunities to give and receive feedback throughout the writing process.
  5. Publish students' writing, and extend the community beyond the classroom.
 

This is an abbreviated digest of the Practice Guide cited below. It was created for instructional leaders and supervisors who are responsible for ensuring quality literacy programming but not responsible for implementing the evidence-based practices (EBP). It is designed for awareness only. Access the Practice Guide for full understanding and implementation of the EBP.

Adapted from: Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Booth Olson, C., D’Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., & Olinghouse, N.(2012). Teaching elementary school students to be effective writers: A practice guide (NCEE 2012-4058). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/PracticeGuides