+ Teacher Talk: Use “Helpful Response” Language

other topics: click a “category” or use search box

From Regie Routman’s great book “Writing Essentials,” here are tips for giving students some writing feedback.

When you start by celebrating the whole writing piece and noting what the writer has done well, other students will want to try what that writer has done too.  Don’t overfocus on details of the craft of writing. 

And use the exact words of the writer whenever you can.

Start With What the Writing Does

  • I love the way your first sentence…
  • Your story reminded me of…
  • I could picture exactly how…
  • When you said [blank] I felt…
  • Your dad is going to treasure this piece because…
  • I noticed that…
  • I really like the way you used conversation to let the reader know exactly what you felt.  It seemed as if I were right there in the room with you…

Then Move to What the Writing Has

  • You tried out conversation…
  • You skipped lines so you could add things easily…
  • You spaced your words, which makes it easy for the reader to read your message…
  • I like the way you used the word [blank] instead of [blank]…

Encourage Youngest Writers and Developing Writiers

  • I like how you were stretching out your sounds as you wrote…
  • I saw you looking at the word wall to figure out a word.  Good for you…
  • You’re spacing better between words.  That makes it easier for the reader…
  • You drew your picture first, and that got you going on your story…
  • I noticed you were using your reading finger to be sure your voice and your words matched…
  • I love the way your picture has lots of information in it…
  • You’re continuing your story from yesterday.  That’s great…
  • Say your words slowly as you write them.  That will help you hear more sounds…

Use Language that Encourages and Clarifies

  • I really like how you…
  • So you’re saying…
  • Perhaps you could try…
  • Can you say more about…?
  • How about if you…?
  • You might want to…
  • Think about…
  • Let’s try this together…

Once You’ve Established Trust, Then You Can Be More Directive…

  • I’m confused here.  I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.  I think you need to…
  • Let me show you how to…
  • Try another lead that…
  • You’ve got too many “tired” words.  Reread and see if you can’t replace some of those with more lively language.  Let’s try one together…
  • You’re piece ends abruptly.  Let’s talk about an ending that might work…
  • Reread your piece before you start writing again…
  • Why don’t you try…?
  • Show me where you say…
  • Explain…
  • Check the criteria we’ve established.  Make sure you’ve done everything that’s required…
  • One thing writers do when they want to [blank] is…  Here’s what I mean…

Generally, keep these things in mind:  What has the writer done well? 

 What is the writer trying to say?  How can I help him say it more clearly/succinctly/originally? 

What language can I use to encourage and support her?  What language can I use to nudge her to continue working on improving the quality of the writing? 

What options can I provide so he will be successful?

What are the one or two most important things I can say or do to help this student?

sole source:”Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching,” by Regie Routman, Heinemann, 2005.  318 pp. ISBN 0-325-00601-6 (alk. paper) $32.50.  DVD included.   www.heinemann.com

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email   aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

Advertisements

Comments are closed.