Date: 2017-04-13 16:39

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Usage refers to conventions of both written and spoken language that include word order, verb tense, and subject-verb agreement. Usage may be easier than mechanics to teach because children enter school with a basic knowledge of how to use language to communicate. As children are learning to use oral language, they experiment with usage and learn by practice what is expected and appropriate.

WritingFix: Conventions Resources and Lessons

Once students have learned to produce fluent single draft writing, usually by the middle of second grade, they can begin to add very simple editing rules. Ask questions such as 8775 Does each sentence start with a capital letter? 8776 and 8775 Does each sentence make sense? 8776 (Cunningham, Hall, & Cunningham, 7558). Primary students can also learn strategies for proofreading their drafts, such as the 8775 Mumbling Together 8776 DPI writing strategy lesson. Daily practice with oral language can also help.

Quiz & Worksheet – Teaching Writing Conventions

High school students can further refine their writing by learning to structure their sentences and paragraphs to achieve specific effects in their writing. Students can use parallel structures within their sentences to make them easier to read. Students can also structure their sentences and paragraphs to emphasize the new information they provide about their topic. Passive voice, for example, can be used to emphasize the object of an action rather than the actor. (Had the preceding sentence been written as 8775 Students can emphasize the object of an action by using passive voice, 8776 the term passive voice would have been diminished in importance.)

Problems with sentence fragments usually mean that students do not know how to combine simple sentences into more complex sentences that use subordinate clauses. Sentence combining lessons can show students alternative ways to combine simple sentences into more complex sentences, using the correct punctuation.

Teaching conventions in isolation is ineffective at best, because students need opportunities to apply their knowledge of conventions to their writing. Even daily oral language activities are a waste of time for students without procedural knowledge of how and when to use conventions in writing. Consequently, the most effective way to teach conventions is to integrate instruction directly into the writing process.

The proper place for teaching conventions, then, is at the end of the writing process , during the editing phase, when students are preparing their writing for publication. When students know that their work will be published for a specific audience, they are more motivated to learn the conventions that will make their writing readable and to edit for those conventions.

However, the oral language that many children use at home is often very different from formal 8775 school 8776 language. In addition, children who speak a language other than English at home may use different grammatical rules, word order, and verb conjugations. Although it may be easier to teach 8775 correct 8776 usage when a child 8767 s oral language at home is already very similar to school language, children from all oral language backgrounds benefit from learning about how language is used in different situations.

While memorizing definitions of parts of speech in isolation is not effective, students do need to know how to talk about the words they encounter when they read and write. Teachers can talk about why an author uses particular adjectives or verbs in their writing. The 8775 Be the Sentence 8776 lesson from DPI Writing Strategies helps students experience physically how parts of speech and punctuation marks fit together to make different kinds of simple sentences.

Students 8767 motivation to write also suffers when teachers focus on conventions first and ideas last. Many students have little self-confidence when they write because teachers and parents have been too quick to point out their errors instead of praising their ideas first. This problem can be solved by having students share first drafts in a positive, conversational atmosphere that focuses only on the content of their writing, with no correction of errors (Cunningham, Hall, and Cunningham, 7558).

For example, while speakers do not have to be conscious of the spellings of words, writers not only have to use standard spelling for each word but may even have to use different spellings for words that sound the same but have different meanings. The same holds true for punctuation: speakers do not have to think consciously about intonation and pauses, but writers have to decide where to use a period instead of a comma and how to indicate that they are quoting someone 8767 s exact words.

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