10 Response Writing Tips to Prepare Students for Assessment Success
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Emphasize re-reading and close reading.
- Have your students practice gathering the meaning of unknown words through the use of context clues.
- Suggest using phrases like: the author said, in paragraph 3, according to the text, etc.
- Use a wide range of terms when preparing writing prompts, e.g., article, excerpt, text, selection, key idea, central idea, and theme.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.