Essay Writing Help for Struggling Learners


Learn how to support the struggling essay writers in your middle school ELA classroom with this quick tip!

Struggling learners come in all shapes and sizes.  Some have diagnosed learning needs and others do not.  What they all need is something to use to help them remember what they are supposed to do.  I recognized this early on and created writing "toolkits" with my students.

I gave each student a manila folder that was to be kept in the room.  They decorated the outside however they wanted, but their name had to be in the name space.

Then, as we learned about citing evidence, for example, I would have them add a list of citing evidence starters into the toolkit.  We also added commentary starters, lists of transitions, and synonyms for overused words.  You can get a free sample of the evidence starters in my free resource library!

But we didn't stop there!  Once we learned how to plan an essay, we put different planning sheets in the toolkits too!  One planning sheet had a great deal of scaffolding and others had less.  Some were vertical with sentence starters and some were horizontal like a kind of flow map.  These really helped my students organize their writing.

Then we added our essay outline, or skeleton, as I called it.  This wrote out what each sentence should be in an essay.  This was perfect for my students who insisted that had never written an essay before. Now they had a roadmap to follow! 

We also kept our writing samples and grading rubrics in this folder.  This was great for parent conferences and any other meetings when I needed to show progress and what I did to support that progress.

So now when we work on writing in the classroom, students have something to which they can refer.  It gives them ideas and confidence that they can write an essay.

I think of the toolkits as a great way to show that I am providing accommodations and support for those struggling learners.  They are terrific reference sheets that allow students to gradually imprint the ideas into their brains rather than having to memorize them all at once.  

Ready to try this in your classroom?  Save TONS of time with my toolkits for both informative and argumentative essays that are ready to go in print and digital formats!  Click here to get them!

Support your struggling middle school writers with reference sheets that included sentence starters, organizers and more!

Thanks for stopping by!

Pin This Post for Later:

Don’t spend hours searching for that great idea you found.  Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly and easily come back when you are ready.  You’ll be glad you did!

Find out how to create a toolkit to support your middle school struggling learners!