A Writing Tip for Every Year: Ninth Grade

Ninth Grade: Teach pre-writing skills that are needed for the type of writing your student is doing.

Besides the aforementioned “writing idea” problem we sometimes create when we do not direct our students in their writing, another difficulty is that of not equipping the student with the skills necessary in order to write what we are asking him to write. It is so difficult for a student to complete a project if he has not been given/taught the skills that are needed in order to write that project well.

Just like we teach our child how to pass, dribble, and shoot before we send him out to play a real game of basketball, so we should teach our students (especially high schoolers) the skills they need before we send them out to write the paper.

For example, various types of writing require various skills that we should give them:


1. How to write quotes before they are asked to include them in a research report

2. How to craft a descriptive setting before we ask a student to write a story

3. How to write dialogue before they write a story in which the characters speak to each other

4. How to gather evidence for writing persuasive essays

5. Much, much more!

While it is often advantageous to go through a grammar book in the order that the book is laid out, you can certainly jump ahead (or backtrack) to a certain skill that might be needed in his essay, report, or story assignment this week. Grammar handbooks (like Write Source) can also be amazing sources for the various skills that your student might need to know in order to write well in each writing type.

If you are using my writing or language arts materials, these mini-lessons will often be indicated with labels “Pre-Writing” or “Write On!”

Note: Go here to see (and print/use) two week samples of my Meaningful Composition series. These samples have, for the most part, complete writing projects. Thus, you can see sample papers of most projects there. Note the various types and how each one has its own outlining type and the various pre-writing and “Write On” lessons will give you an idea of how to introduce some of these skills for various writing project types. Also, keep your eyes on my stores (Teachers Pay Teachers, CurrClick, Teacher’s Notebook, and our own store, Character Ink Press) as I put up various writing project downloads that are in my longer books.


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