3 Keys for Learning to Write

1. Spend more time writing: (Practice makes perfect)

It makes sense right –you will not become great at a sport unless you practice that sport–a lot. There is strong evidence that this is true for writing too. Five studies of exceptional literacy teachers found that great teachers ask their students to write frequently. In nine separate experiments with students, 15 additional minutes of writing time a day in grades two through eight produced better writing. Seventy-eight percent of studies testing the impact of extra writing found that student’s writing quality improved.

Not only did writing quality improve, so did reading comprehension.

2. Write on a computer: (Instant feedback)

In 83 percent of 30 studies on the use of word processing software, students’ writing quality improved when they wrote their papers on a computer instead of writing by hand. The impact was largest for middle school students, but younger students benefited, too. The theory is that students feel more free to edit their sentences because it’s so easy to delete, add and move text on a computer. The more editing, the better the final essay.

3. Grammar instruction doesn’t work (Direct relation and Feedback):

Studies have found that traditional grammar instruction does not work. Period.

The most positive results have been from cases where grammar rules (corrections) were applied to the sentences students were working on.

-Facts and figures courtesy of The Hechinger Report

9 thoughts on “3 Keys for Learning to Write

  1. Thanks for following my blog. As a grammar geek, I’ve always taught that a strong foundation makes a strong structure. But when I was in college, I always got A’s over D’s: A’s for content, D’s for mechanics. So I vowed to learn the rules. And they aren’t hard. It just takes practice. Sort of like playing a piano. If you don’t know the basics, it’s hard to make beautiful music. The only reason to use Standard English (not “proper” just Standard) is that so we make our message clear to the reader. As for writing a lot. Yep. That’s the key. And I’d add, read. Read a lot. Cheers! And keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I beg to differ on the grammar instruction. Understanding the basic rules make for better writing. I remember diagramming sentences in school, and while I can no longer do that, I know that knowing an adverb modifies a verb, what a prepositional phrase is, and the difference between there, their, and they’re goes a long way toward more literate and engaging work.


    1. Hi Edcol,
      You can count yourself in the fortunate few—according to the Facts and figures courtesy of The Hechinger Report.
      Not every teacher subscribes solely to traditional grammar instruction and–as we all are aware–some teachers are better than others.
      Thanks for your input.


  3. I hear ya. Now if only I had another 15 min a day… I’d be unstoppable!

    I think the feedback part is the one I need to exploit more. I have inch-thick rose-tinted glasses when looking at my drafts.

    Best of luck to us all.


  4. Reblogged this on Sound Bites with TyCobbsTeeth and commented:

    I think we can simplify this even further and say there are 2 keys to learning to write (or improving your writing).
    1. Spend more time writing.
    2. Obtain feedback.
    Without a doubt, writing improves writing and the more you do it, the better you will become. Editing your own work is a crucial ingredient in this recipe, but help from editors and beta readers can certainly enhance the process.

    Liked by 2 people

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