By the time they reach high school, children have likely practiced many different types of writing to foster their creativity, test their analytical abilities and encourage them to express themselves. As they inch toward graduation, writing assignments can become more challenging and more complex, especially for those students who are college-bound. While writing assignments will certainly vary by school and by teacher, there are a number of techniques that high school students should master before graduation.
Whether writing a letter to the editor, an SAT essay or a speech, persuasive writing is one of the most essential forms of writing for high school students to learn. According to the ReadWriteThink website, produced by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, persuasive writing practice teaches students how to harness the power of language to develop arguments and counterarguments, how to understand their audience and purpose and how to use facts to support their reasoning. These are all critical skills that they will carry with them after they don their cap and gown.
By the time they graduate from high school, most students will have been exposed to research writing. Whether it's a short 5-pager or an extensive 15-page document, research projects teach students how to sift through a large amount of information and synthesize that information into a comprehensive, clearly stated document. This is an essential skill that will not only prepare students for college, but also perhaps for their careers.
Analytical writing is one of the most effective ways to measure a student’s comprehension and critical thinking skills and is probably the form of writing that students are most likely to encounter across the curriculum. In English courses, students may be asked to analyze characters, themes or symbolism in a novel. In science class, students may have to write a report analyzing a biological process. In a history class, students might be asked to write an essay analyzing whether a political movement was effective. According to the All About Adolescent Literacy website, an educational initiative of public television and radio station WETA in Washington, D.C., the most common forms of analytical writing are compare-contrast, cause-effect, problem-solution and concept-definition essays.
Creative writing assignments, such as short stories, flash fiction and poetry, allow students to express themselves in a no-holds-barred fashion. Creative writing can also serve as a blend of research and narrative. For instance, writing a historical fiction piece on slavery from the viewpoint of a slave not only incorporates facts about the time period, but also allows students to express their creativity through dialogue, point of view and tone. Creative writing allows students to stir their imagination while practicing important skills related to the use of grammar, imagery and style.
Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more.