Techniques to Teach Writing Effectively: The Writing Process

[Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of three posts. Links to previous posts will be located at the bottom.]

According to an article posted on Education Week’s website, writers in school, no matter if they’re in elementary school or in graduate courses, share a common problem: a lack of confidence about their writing. Confidence draws your eyes, your heart, and your mind to the work, but this type of certainty is rare, most likely due to an ineffective approach to the task. Four different teachers describe their experiences with writing instruction that works; we focus on one teacher in today’s post.[1]

Penny Kittle teaches first-year writers at New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University. She says that the confidence needed to write well develops in classrooms where the focus is on the writers’ growth, and such focus occurs only in classrooms where the teacher depends less on lessons and more on a handful of other practices.

Unfortunately, most classes spend a great deal of time directing students to practice “writing-like” activities, those with restrictive templates for assignments and where the criteria are focused on rules. These activities force the students to either simply complete a task or to avoid it altogether. It’s mere labor, not creative thinking.

Practicing creative expression, on the other hand, is more difficult to implement, but it’s how we develop the ability to allow our ideas to bubble up then shape them into cohesive arguments, stories, poems, and observations. Here are Kittle’s suggestions for inspiring creative work.

Writing notebooks and daily revision

Writers need to write and continue to write until it’s a daily habit. That leaves them free to explore ideas and follow thoughts and images as they come.

Rarely is anything perfect as the writer puts pen to the page or keystrokes to the screen. They need guidance on how to reread their first drafts and identify which ideas need more development, which need to go completely, and how to move the piece as a whole forward. Some teachers show students how to shape sentences in their own work, demonstrating how even small revisions can increase clarity and rhythm and how, after identifying their focus, they can maintain their writing quality.

Writing (and writer) study

Emerging writers can learn to write well by imitating other writers’ structures, approaches, and means of reaching readers. This is an organic process, as students study sentences, passages, and longer works, learning how and why each approach works, and creating their own passages based on this new knowledge.

Writers’ conversations with themselves

Writing in a community expands possibilities. Every line put down in a notebook, magazine, or book carries the unique mark of its writer: their passion, voice, experience, and even their vulnerability. Studying those lines drives process talk – what made you write about that? Who are you speaking to, and what do you want them to know? This shifts the conversation from “right and wrong” ways of writing to “how and why” you put something down on the page.


Next time: Writing for English Language Learners



[1] Ferlazzo, Larry. (February 16, 2024). “How to Help Students with Their Writing. 4 Educators Share Their Secrets.” Education Week. Retrieved from


Author: AceReader Blogger

The AceReader blogging team is made up of specialists in a number of different areas: literacy, general education, content development, and educational software. For questions about posts, please submit them in the form below. For suggestions about blog topics, please email them to

2 thoughts on “Techniques to Teach Writing Effectively: The Writing Process”

Leave a Reply