At Staten Island Letters, our writing tutors focus on specialized and individualized intervention to improve the student’s written skills and make the writing process more fun and engaging. The scope of our instruction addresses the six traits of writing, which are key ingredients in proficient writing. The six traits framework also allows a writing tutor to assess whether a learner’s skills are appropriate for their grade level, identify strengths, and target weaknesses. These traits are:
- Ideas / Content: This refers to the main idea of a piece of writing. Learners choose a single topic and elaborate on it, using relevant information or supporting ideas to make the message clearer.
- Organization: This refers to the planning, drafting, and revising of thoughts and ideas. Students learn to reveal and write ideas logically (with a beginning, middle, and end).
- Word Choice: This refers to the effectiveness of each word that a student uses in a piece of writing. A strong vocabulary is important so the learner can use rich and colorful language as well as use the right words to convey a specific meaning.
- Sentence Fluency: Readability is key in effective writing, which means sentences must flow smoothly, are easy to read, and have complete thoughts and variety.
- Grammar or Conventions: This trait refers to the learner’s ability to follow spelling rules, punctuation, capitalization, and proper grammar (such as conjugating verbs and knowing when to use those cute little adverbs).
- Voice: Learners need to be able to express themselves through writing. This is key in creating their own unique styles that showcase their individuality.
Our specialized and individualized intervention focuses on improving the student’s written skills. Our writing tutor focuses on helping students with:
- Ideas: selecting one and elaborating on it
- Organization: planning, drafting, revising their thoughts
- Word Choice: using rich and colorful language
- Sentence Fluency: making sure everything flows as smooth as a river
- Grammar: conjugating those verbs and knowing when to use those cute little adverbs
- Voice: being able to express and be oneself
We teach strategies to facilitate writing development and these include vocabulary (nouns, action words, descriptors), grammar (sentence construction, verb tense, fragments, etc.), types of sentences, (statements, questions), increasing linguistic complexity (compound to complex sentences), types of paragraphs (reason, persuasion, comparison and contrasting) improving organization/cohesion of ideas (map out setting, identifying problems, goals, and episodes, connecting ideas, visual and verbal organizers, etc.). These skills are targeted by our writing tutor independently for remediation, and they are also implemented in the student’s curriculum (such as creative writing and test prep for standardized tests).
Our writing tutor takes a personal approach to writing tutoring and takes into consideration students’ interests, and strengths, challenges, and learning style, when developing activities to enhance writing skills. These activities may include pictures (including drawing), books (including picture books), writing assignments about personal experiences, art, and music, journals, book reports, editing (including correcting the tutor’s mistakes), etc.