Research has shown dramatic effects in the quality of student writing when they have been taught to use strategies for planning, revising, and editing their compositions. Just as in reading, strategy instruction in writing involves explicitly and systematically teaching the steps necessary for planning, revising, and editing.

Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) is one approach for helping students learn specific strategies for planning, drafting, and revising text. Teachers help students become more competent writers by directly teaching them the processes, skills, and knowledge that underlie effective writing, as well as how to coordinate and regulate their use (De La Paz & Graham, 2002). SRSD takes place in six stages.

Table 9.1

General Template for Strategy Use

Develop Background Knowledge

Teach students the background knowledge needed to use any strategy. For example, activate the students' background knowledge on the parts of an essay and different sentence types.

Describe It

The teacher describes the strategy and its purpose. Students also learn about the benefits of using the strategy.

Model It

The teacher models how to use the strategy by using a think-aloud. The teacher also uses a variety of self-instructions to show how the strategy is managed. An example of a self-instruction statement might be, Since I decided to put my thesis first, I will write it at the beginning of my introductory paragraph (De La Paz & Graham, 2002).

Memorize It

Students must memorize the steps of the strategy and any accompanying mnemonic. Teachers formally assess students' recall of the strategy.

Support It

Teachers support student use of the strategy through guided practice. Support fades as students begin to master the strategy.

Independent Use

All support provided to students fades as they begin to use the strategy independently.

Below are strategies and mnemonic devices you can use when implementing writing instruction.

Table 9.2




PLAN (De La Paz & Graham, 2002)

Pay attention to the prompt

List main ideas

Add supporting details

Number your ideas


semantic webbing

goal setting


Table 9.3




WRITE (De La Paz & Graham, 2002)

Work from your plan to develop your thesis.

Remember your goals.

Include transition words.

Try to use different kinds of sentences.

Exciting, interesting, $100,000 words.

The "DARE" mnemonic can be used when teaching students to write opinion essays (De La Paz, 1999).

Develop a topic sentence.

Add supporting details.

Reject an argument for the other side.

End with a conclusion.

Teach students to write using various text structures. Models of text structures can be pulled from reading materials students use.

Teach students to write various kinds of sentences.


Table 9.4




Graham & MacArthur (1988)

  1. Read your essay.
  2. Find the sentence that tells what you believe. Is it clear?
  3. Add two reasons why you believe it.
  4. SCAN each sentence.
    • Does it make sense?
    • Is it connected to my belief?
    • Can I add more?
    • Note errors
  5. Re-read your essay and make final changes.

Peer editing

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