Help Students Relate to the Prompt


Help Students Relate to the Prompt

Posted on November 23, 2010

Help Students Relate to the Prompt

Voice -- nervousIf topic choice equals topic voice, then voice is one thing that could suffer when students write for the state assessment. Standardized testing offers structured topic choice options. So what do we do to help students relate to the prompt? For some suggested ways to help students connect, read on...

If it's true that writers write best what they know about, what they care about, and what they've recently experienced, then it follows that topic choice is an essential part of topic voice. If a writer is forced to write about something that he cares nothing about, chances are the writing will come out dry and uninteresting--voiceless.

And yet, prompts are by nature broad enough to allow for some opportunity for voice and variety. Teach student ways to bring the human side back into an assigned topic.

In Janet Angelillo's book Writing to the Prompt, she emphasizes the importance of helping students find ways to connect. Angelillo offers a few in the book. Here are a few more possible questions you can pose to your students to jog their creative brains...

  • Do they have any personal experience to connect to the prompt?
  • Has anyone in their family experienced something that would help?
  • Do they know someone who has experienced anything like this?
  • Is there someone famous they know about who has experience with the prompt?
  • Have they seen a movie with a scene that connects to the idea?