by Ashley Ring
I have a bachelors degree in English and I am currently working on my masters degree. I am a private school teacher, and...

Word by word, every word has a job. This is what I teach to my itty-bitty students, and even to my college students. As students grow in their writing they forgot the little pieces that tie it altogether to make it a great piece. They forget that nouns need to do their jobs just as adjectives and verbs do theirs.

Something that have my students do before starting to write their essay is brain storm and put their words into short phrases and sentences. We do this together with an outline set up with roman numerals. This helps with the organization of their essay and all they have to do is fill in the blanks with examples and quotes if applicable.


Getting it all out on Paper

Another piece of advice that I give to my students is to just get all their thoughts down on paper. I remind them not to get hung up on words, punctuation, or even worry about it making sense. Too many times I have students with writer’s block, and many times this stems from not thinking outside of the box. This can also happen from over thinking. Writers block and forgetting what they wanted to say, are the two main reasons that I have my students do this exercise before sitting down and piecing together their essay.

This is a huge part of the writing process for my students, they are able to grasp where their mind is going on the topic, and take the free handed rough draft of ideas and thoughts and put it into a master piece.


Smooth and Steady

Getting back to the idea of word by word, I spend at least one lesson working on topic sentences and transition words. Topic sentences help my students of all ages make sense of what their paragraph is about. This helps them to stay on topic and focus on the points they are trying to make.

Transition words work just the same. Their purpose is to make the structure of the paper mesh together, and keeps you away from chopping sentences and paragraphs. Some examples of transition words are:

            In addition, conversely, for example, furthermore, additionally etc.

Giving your student a tool box full of tools to work with will help to make them a much more confident writer.


Making Sure Quotes Help your Paper and not Hurt your Arguments

Quotes are another important component to a well written essay. Often times students are asked to incorporate quotes from a test or for a research paper. Students usually take this as a last-minute addition and figure throwing any quote into the paper will satisfy the requirements. However, this is not the case. Quotes are to be used, and used only, when they make an argument stronger or prove a statement that the writer has made.

As a tutor it is important to teach your students to treat their papers like a piece of art. Putting each brush of paint where it needs to go and dabbing just the right colors together to make a beautiful master piece. Have no fear a great tutor can make your writing clear.


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