Pin Me

Different Types of Prewriting Strategies

written by: Lady Lit • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/20/2012

This article suggests prewriting strategies that help students develop their ideas. Prewriting is exploring and organizing ideas before writing. Prewriting strategies must include what the purpose of the writing is and who the audience of the writing is.

  • slide 1 of 6

    What is Prewriting?

    There are many types of prewriting, I prefer clustering as my introductory prewriting strategy. Clustering involves writing the main topic in the middle of a slice of paper writing ideas associated with the topic and connecting those ideas with lines.

  • slide 2 of 6

    Diagramming: Another Form of Prewriting

    Another form of prewriting is having students draw a diagram. If the essay topic is to write about changes needed in one’s high school. I have students write about changes needed in one’s high school and then draw then lines: one to the left, one to the bottom, and one to the right. At the end of each line, they should write one change that needs to be made in their high school. Beneath each of these changes, I have students draw an upside down “V” and require students to write to relevant supporting details.

  • slide 3 of 6

    Types of Prewriting: Diagramming and the Basic Outline

    Another form of prewriting is having students draw a diagram. If the essay topic is to write about changes needed in one’s high school. I have students write about changes needed in one’s high school and then draw lines: one to the left, one to the bottom, and one to the right. At the end of each line, theyshould write one change that needs to made in their high school. Beneath each of these changes, I have students draw an upside down “V” and require students to write relevant supporting details.

    Some students may be more comfortable with a traditional outline, which is fine. After all, the goal is to get the student's ideas on paper.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Goal of Prewriting

    The purpose of prewriting is to calm students' fears. When a teacher assigns a student a topic for an essay, a student may become extremely nervous as he/she knows that he/she has to fill up a piece of paper with a bunch of words. For some students, writing does not come easily, but if writing is approached in a subtle manner, students are going to be more comfortable.

    Once students complete their cluster map, outline, or diagram, they have the body paragraphs of their essay well underway, and most students can see their essay emerging. In a sense, the map, outline or diagram becomes the crutch that is going to assist students in writing their final draft.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Procedures for Teaching Prewriting

    1. Brainstorm. Encourage students to think outside of the box.

    2. Model the exercise. If you are teaching diagramming, create a diagram on the board.

    3. Give examples. Students like to see examples. Show them a completed essay as well as the planning for that particular essay.

    4. Help them come up ideas, though do not do all the work yourself. Be an active participant.

    5. Reinforce the fact that students are doing a good job, even if their work is not-so-great.

  • slide 6 of 6

    Helpful Hint

    The more thorough and the more time a student puts into his or her prewriting activity, the more polished the student's essay will appear. So if a student desires to do a good job, he or she needs to spend ample time planning or prewriting his/her essay.