Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

Making Sense of IEW: The Writing Process

This is the last part of our IEW series. If you missed the first two, you can read about Student Resources here and Teacher Resources here. This article will focus on the most important part of composition–the writing process!

IEW may seem like it complicates the writing process, but actually, it breaks it down into meaningful tasks, which help a student build a paper of substance. First, the key word outline (KWO) teaches students to find the most important words from the source(s). Don’t skip this step or seek to alter this part of the process. The KWO teaches students that a paper worth writing, or being read for that matter, is organized from the beginning. The KWO also teaches students that other people’s writing is organized, so they learn from mimicking good writing. And finally, it gives the student research skills.

Secondly, the rough draft and checklist teach students that the first ideas that come out of their heads aren’t perfect. Writing the paper, the actual getting it on paper part, is necessary. But making students reread their writing by using the detailed checklist to make the paper better shows students the first draft is not the best draft. Good writers edit heavily. So teaching students this skill early on through IEW will eliminate the college student who thinks I can just spit something out and turn it in syndrome. (As a college English instructor, I hate reading those papers, for the record.) No matter how long this part takes, and it should take the longest, don’t skip the rough draft or the checklist. Otherwise, doing IEW is kind of pointless.

Finally, handwriting or typing a polished final draft teaches the student to take pride in what he/she writes. This part helps the student to gain confidence in his/her writing skills. The final draft is better than the KWO or the rough draft. It’s more detailed. At this point in the process, the student has corrected mistakes and added material (called dress-ups in IEW) to enhance the paper. 

The last idea I’ll mention is to let your student present his or her paper out loud. Reading an original essay to others completes the process and, again, promotes confidence in the student. In addition, it helps the student learn public speaking skills, which could come in handy later in life.

Overall, IEW not only creates young writers, but it prepares them for standing out in college and in life with excellent communication skills. I highly recommend this program for your students.


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