Writing in the sixth grade is a process. Students continue to learn new skills as they build on previous ones. Becoming a better writer in the sixth grade is a matter of continuously using the skills already learned and learning new ones. Reading, grammar and practice writing all help students become better writers.
Practice is the best way to get better at most things and the same is true for writing. Having students write constantly and participate in skill-building activities is the best way for sixth-graders to become master writers. Daily writing warmups and activities give students a chance to hone their writing skills. Having students respond to readings by giving them writing prompts is also a good way for students to practice their writing.
Great writers are usually avid readers. Promoting regular reading habits in students will help them to learn the structure and format of effective writing. Exposing students often to well-crafted literature is one of the best ways to increase student writing skills. Having students keep a reading journal where they can respond to the books they read is a great way to improve their writing skills.
Good writers are familiar with the structure and usage of language. Teaching students the basics of grammar helps them to understand why some sentences work and others do not. Sentence variety, punctuation and correct tense are grammar issues that students will continue to face throughout their academic career. Making sure that students have a good grasp of grammar will help increase their writing skills
Encourage students to keep journals. Journaling is a way to get students to make a daily habit of writing that they can carry with them into adulthood. Whether or not they become professional writers is irrelevant. The habit of writing every day provides much more benefits than just writing skills.
Stacy Alleyne is a certified English teacher with a BA in English and graduate work in English, education, journalism and law. She has written numerous articles and her own dining column for the "Gazette."