Skip to Main Content

Writing Center: Chapter 14: Writing Activities for ESL Writers

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

Summary of Chapter 14

Haley Hawsey
Chapter Summary of ESL Writers by Bruce and Rafoth, Second Edition
Chapter 14: “Writing Activities for ESL Writers” by Dvorak
            This chapter brings to life the ideas for writing activities that can be used during tutoring sessions with ESL students. The techniques differ from traditional writing methods. The goal here is to generate creative ideas for the students and to really get them thinking about context. The chapter begins with exercises to allow the ESL students to produce ideas that they can use in their paper. The following exercises are: The Alphabet Exercise, Computer-Based White-Write, and the Essay Draft. The following ideas are examples of workshops that can be used as a way to enhance the learning experiences between the writer and the tutor. These examples are: the Write-Around, the Prompted Quick-Writes, Picture This, and the Self-Portrait. Finally, the chapter ends with a 3 step process to “set up” the writing center so it is geared towards ESL students.
Alphabet Exercise:
·         Write the alphabet in left side of paper
·         Get the student to come up with one or more phrases for each letter
·         Freewrite about the topics
·         Group similar topics
·         Narrow list down that the student feels are the strongest topic
·         Used at a computer
·         Have the student turn on the white colored font so it matches the background
·         This way, they are not distracted by how their language is developing
·         Make sure student produces a text in a short amount of time
Essay Draft:
·         Draw the basic concept of an essay onto a page (intro, 3 body, and conclusion paragraph)
·         Spend only a few short minutes on each paragraph, then move onto the next
·         This process should take less than 25 minutes
Write Around:
·         Allows students to create fictional scenes, images, etc.
·         Writers start by writing narratives about their lives
·         “I am _____, and I am from _____.”
·         Writers pass their writings to one side so each student has another author’s writing
Quick Writers:
·         Designed to allow students to write down prompts
·         Can have each student write on a small piece of paper and put into bowl
·         Each writer pick from the bowl and writer about what they select
Picture This:
·         Writers develop storylines about themselves
·         Tutors should build sentence level prompts that build on one another
·         “I was walking...”, “And then…”
·         Or “Write a sentence with a body part in it.”
Ideas/Questions to consider:
·         This examples work on the act of creation rather than requiring students to bring in work
·         Al activities should be done in a quick manner.
·         Remember these are creative “writing” activities; the students should be writing.
·         What activities do you use that you think would work?