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Create Short Reading and Pre-Writing Exercises

After you’ve broken down the assignment into stages, create short reading and pre-writing exercises for as many steps as possible. Reading exercises will encourage students to read critically and pre-writing exercises will allow your students to practice the conceptual and writing skills required by the assignment.

If you’re wondering why you can’t save yourself some work and just tell your class what they need to know, remember that students can only employ writing skills and strategies from practicing them.

Some general principles for in-class activities and short take-home work include:

      • Demonstrate the skills you want your students to learn, such as how to do a close reading or work with different types of sources, before they do it themselves.
      • Require written product from these exercises so that your students are accountable for them.


Let’s take the pre-writing steps we’ve just outlined for Example #1 to create some basic pre-writing work that will foster an active, multi-vocal classroom. 


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