With anything someone decides to learn, there are easy concepts, and there are concepts that take more time, effort, and practice to master. English has many skills that cannot be taught within a few months of English lessons, especially when it comes to writing. That’s why you need to know about these important writing skills to improve right now.
The reason these English skills take more time to learn is that students have to continually use and build upon them to develop strong understandings and produce rich products. It’s a life-long process, and like most processes, becoming a strong writer takes time, effort, and plenty of mistakes – there is always room for improvement!
How Writing Skills Improve with Time & Practice
1) Writing Organization for Flow and Clarity
Early on, students learn about the beginning, middle, and end of stories. This progresses into thesis, an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion in essays. Then, depending on the type of writing being done, paragraphs like abstracts, support, and connection paragraphs are taught (to name a few).
Every paper is different, so deciding how to organize a paper to make it the most logical to read is a new task every time. Knowing the standard paper formatting rules and how those rules vary depending on the paper’s purpose is important.
How to Improve These Writing Skills:
- Practice: Writing different types of papers is the best practice to improve these skills.
- Content Editing: Make sure the paper is clear and makes the point you intended to make. Take advantage of peer editing to see how an outsider perceives the flow of the paper. Oftentimes, the writing makes sense in the author’s head but not in another student’s!
- Copy Editing: Pay attention to how the paper was formatted once finished. Check to see if it matches the format required and other papers written in that format. Remember: the patterns present in similar styles of writing can be applied to papers in the future.
2) Locating Strong Support
Similarly to how writing a paper is different each time, finding support when offering a viewpoint changes in every paper as well!
How to Improve This English Skill:
- Search for Sources: While researching, students will be able to spot patterns in reliable sources. For example, sources from universities or URLs ending in “.gov” have dependable information. By recognizing this, students can be more efficient and bypass sources that are not strong.
- Save Good Resources: Make bookmarks or jot down useful sources or databases for future papers. There is always the possibility of writing future papers on similar topics, so by already knowing a place to go for information, you save time.
3) Using Concise but Powerful Language
Less is more. Learning how to use as few words as possible to get the point across is a difficult skill but one that takes a piece of writing to a higher level. Many times, there is one word that would summarize what you used a phrase to say.
How to Improve Word Choice:
- On Your Own: A way to be more precise in your writing is to review what you have written and decide if a phrase could be summarized by using vocabulary. For example, instead of saying ‘the process caterpillars go through to turn into a butterfly’, it is much easier to write ‘metamorphosis’.
- Editing Tricks: An easy way to be more concise is to search the internet for ”words meaning” followed by a phrasing you think could be shortened. Many times, this search will provide rich vocabulary words which make the writing shorter and clearer. This could be part of your editing process!
- Program Editors: Microsoft Word now has a feature that scans the document for possible phrasings that could be summarized in a more concise way. Word automatically does this for you!
Becoming a strong writer takes time. Although it doesn’t happen overnight, writing papers in school and at after school enrichment centers are sure routes toward mastering English skills. Keep practicing and see these writing skills grow!
What writing skills have been hardest for your child to master?
Author: Sarah B., Teacher and Writer at A Grade Ahead.