Suzanne Klein

Executive Director

Grandville, MI

Interests: 21st century learning,...

  • Posted 2 Years ago
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10 Response Writing Tips to Prepare Students for Assessment Success

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Response writing is a critical component for success across all subject areas and text types on the upcoming spring assessments. How can you teach your students to write quality text-dependent responses in order to prepare them for success? Here are ten tips:

  1. Vary the length of responses in your lessons. For example, sometimes assign a quick write and other times assign a prompt that requires the students to give an extended response. At other times give students a chance to revise, edit, and score their work.
  2. For extended response prompts, give students the opportunity to respond to a variety of media types (including written text, video and audio recordings). For example, ask students to read a narrative and listen to an audio diary on the same topic. Then, have students respond to a prompt that requires them to use textual evidence from both sources.
  3. Emphasize re-reading and close reading.
  4. Have your students practice gathering the meaning of unknown words through the use of context clues.
  5. Suggest using phrases like: the author said, in paragraph 3, according to the text, etc.
  6. Use a wide range of terms when preparing writing prompts, e.g., article, excerpt, text, selection, key idea, central idea, and theme.
  7. Have your students underline the direction words in a prompt before answering in an attempt to clarify what they are being asked to do, e.g., support, discuss, describe, interpret, respond, summarize, explain, articulate.
  8. Teach a unit of response writing using all text types early in the school year, thus making it easier for students to write quality responses across the curriculum all year long.
  9. Teach a mini-unit of response writing lessons during each text-type unit, e.g., 3-5 lessons during the Narrative unit, 3-5 lessons during the Informative unit, and 3-5 lessons during the Opinion unit.
  10. Don't forget the RACES writing strategy that helps students write a quality response that is supported by textual evidence. The visual aid, "Off to the RACES: How to Write a Response to a Text, Audio, or Video Presentation" is a useful framework that will help your students remember the steps of writing a thorough response. Click here to download it and pass it out to your students.

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