One of the most complex academic skills is writing. Written expression and expressing thoughts and ideas through writing is a highly complex, cognitive, and self-directed process. Planning, drafting, reviewing, and revising are all components that make up diverse writing skills. 

Students who struggle in this academic area experience less technical writing difficulties (ie. mechanics or spelling) and usually struggle in oral expression of their thoughts or ideas.

What Are The Assessment Areas? 

The 5 key areas of evaluation for writing are:

  1. Fluency – translating thoughts into written words
  2. Content – organization and cohesion in the overall piece 
  3. Conventions – standard conventions (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, legibility for handwriting) 
  4. Syntax – ability to transition from single word to groups of words, sentences, and paragraphs
  5. Vocabulary – maturity or uniqueness of word choice 

Along with assessments evaluating those areas, writing samples are also used to determine students’ written expression skills. 

How Can You Support Students with Written Expression Difficulties? 

The following strategies, can be suggested to teachers to support students who have difficulty with written expression: 

  • Modeling – engages students by showing them how to perform a skill while describing each step with a rationale. This provides students with both a visual and verbal example of what they will be expected to do.
  • Using graphic organizers – visual thinking tools that make pictures of thoughts. The pictures demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas, and guide students’ thinking.  
  • Engaging in think alouds – vocalizing the internal thinking or thought process when working on a concept or problem. 
  • Providing writing frames (ie. sentence stems, essay frames) – a skeletal outline with common words, phrases, or ideas. 
  • Offering assistive documents (ie. word banks, dictionaries, technology, apps) – common words and tools that students can access during instruction and independent practice. 

For more information on how to support students who struggle with written expression, check out our Written Expression document by clicking the button below.