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Writing Strategies for ESL Learners

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I am looking for resources on strategies to improve ESL learners' wiritng skills. Any help will be appreciated. An article would be welcomed to get me started. Thank you.

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I located a very informative article listing and detailing eight specific strategies to help ESL learners' improve their writing skills.


Improving ESL Learners' Writing Skills

Tom Bello

Writing is a continuing process of discovering how to find the most effective language for communicating one's thoughts and feelings. It can be challenging, whether writing in one's native language or in a second language. Yet, as adult English as a second language (ESL) learners put their thoughts on paper, see their ideas in print, and share them with others, they find they develop a powerful voice in their new culture (Peyton, 1993; Tran, 1997). Writing also enhances language acquisition as learners experiment with words, sentences, and larger chunks of writing to communicate their ideas effectively and to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary they are learning in class (Bello, 1997).

This digest suggests general approaches to writing and specific activities that can make writing easier and more enjoyable for both learners and teachers. These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, but they are presented to encourage new thinking about how writing can be incorporated into adult ESL instruction. (See Auerbach, 1992; Cheatham, Clark, McKay, Schnieder, & Siedow, 1994; Crandall & Peyton, 1993; and Rabideau, 1993, for additional suggestions.) APPROACHESThere are two general approaches to writing: free writing, which is not necessarily edited or worked on further, and a more extended process approach. In addition, the language experience approach (LEA) is often used with beginning literacy learners to provide opportunities for reading and writing through personal experiences and oral language (Taylor, 1992).

1. "Free Writing": Learners write for a period of time in class on a topic of interest to them. This writing can take many forms, including quick writes, which are time-limited, done individually, and not always shared; and dialogue journals, written to a teacher, a classmate or other partner who then responds (Peyton & Staton, 1996). These writings may be kept in a portfolio or notebook. From these pieces, themes may emerge that can act as springboards for more extensive writing that is discussed, revised, edited, and published.

2. "Process Writing": Process writing usually begins with some form of "pre-writing activity" in which learners work together in groups to generate ideas about a particular topic. This could include sharing the free-writing piece described above, brainstorming, making a list or timeline, or simply reflecting on an experience. Each group member then works alone to compose a "first draft," concentrating on getting ideas down on paper, without worrying about spelling or grammar. They then read their drafts to each other in pairs or small groups. They encourage each other with constructive comments and questions as they seek better understanding of what each other is trying to write. They might discuss the purpose of the writing, what the author learned or hopes others will learn, and what the reader likes best or has trouble with (Crandall & Peyton,1993, p.65). "Revising" begins based on these comments and responses. Now the main concern is clarity as the ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides one highly instructional article which includes eight specific strategies to consider when helping ESL (English as a Second Language) learners become more proficient writers.