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Teaching writing has been one of the most complex tasks for me. Its complexity arises from the perception that it should be simple, but it often proves more challenging. Writing serves as an outlet, allowing kids to express themselves. However, much of the writing instruction revolves around text-based writing, introducing a new set of challenges.

As I review my students' writing, I often observe a struggle in utilizing the text to respond or answer questions. The difficulty in meeting the demands of text-based writing can result from various factors. However, one thing is certain: to answer the prompt correctly, they must first understand it. There's no way around that.

I consistently emphasize to my students that to answer a question correctly, they must know what the question is. While this advice is typically associated with the strategies for solving contextual Math problems, I realized that some students were not providing a text-based response correctly—or, in some cases, not providing one at all—possibly because they didn't fully grasp that they were supposed to. So, I came up with a strategy to help solve this problem. I refer to this approach as...


"The Write Statement" is something I created for my students to first identify what they would be writing about before starting text-based writing. This pre-thinking stage helped them determine the purpose of their writing.

Below are images of slides I showed my students.

My students practiced this repeatedly. I created sample writing prompts and had them write "The Write Statement(s)" without actually having to write the essays or stories. Again, the purpose of "The Write Statement" is to help students identify the purpose of their writing before they respond to the prompt. I wanted this to be something embedded in their brain to naturally do whenever they were tasked with evidence-based writing.

Writing is a beautiful thing. It's a way to express, create, teach, and the list goes on and on. However, sometimes, it must be based on evidence. It doesn't mean it can't be those other things. It can, but it also has to include what it is based on, and with text-based writing, it is text. It is what it is!

So when teaching students this, we need to make sure that they understand that when they are doing text-based writing, there's no way around them using the text. When they are responding to a prompt, there's no way around them answering the question or doing the task the prompt is asking them to do.

When using text-based writing prompts, the purpose is to respond to the prompt by using the text. Teaching students this fundamental aspect of writing is crucial for building strong and effective writers.


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