The National Institute for Literacy found that direct, explicit, and systematic instruction is the most widely suggested instructional practice for improving writing skills. As NIFL explained:
Directly teaching adolescent writers strategies and skills that enhance writing development allows educators to build upon students’ prior knowledge and introduce new information contextually. Examples of strategies and skills that can be taught across content areas include the steps of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, and editing) and skills relevant to editing and revision.
To use direct, explicit, and systematic instruction in writing:
- Explain the writing skill or strategy and model how to apply it in writing in a manner that is similar to what students will be asked to do,
- Guide students in using the skills and strategies in their writing assignments and provide corrective feedback,
- Provide time and opportunities for independent practice with the writing skills and strategies, and
- Repeat these instructional steps until students are able to use them independently in their writing.”
You can read the full article, Key Literacy Component: Writing.
Dr. Joan Sedita has developed a “writing rope” that presents the numerous skills that contribute to proficient writing. Dr. Sedita has also written an excellent introduction to effective writing instruction, Teaching Writing to Learn Content .