Strategies for Empowering Students

  • To acquaint students with the narrative discourse of the writing process
  • To emphasize the importance of writing skills
  • To encourage students to use their imagination and creativity
  • To give students an opportunity to express their thoughts, viewpoints, and emotions through the written word
  • To emphasize the connection between reading and writing

  • Development of a basic knowledge of the writing process
  • Stimulation of students' creative ideas
  • Development of vocabulary skills
  • Integration of reading and writing skills
  • Development of such skills as chronological organization, elaboration of context, development of characters and plot, and setting of tone

  • Literature
  • English
  • Language Arts
  • History
  • Career Education

Students will use their writing skills and knowledge base of the writing process and the different writing discourses. This activity will lead to enhancing their organizational, sequencing, and elaboration skills.

Students will write a narrative story. The story may be fictional or nonfictional. Students should be encouraged to use a graphic organizer as they brainstorm for possible ideas.

The italicized words should be explained and discussed to ensure that everyone understands the definitions. Students should be allowed to decide if they wish to work in cooperative groups or individually as they brainstorm and create their stories.

For students who feel insecure about their writing skills, creating a group story will help relieve the stress of possible failure. In addition, working as a cooperative group, students will see the writing process and story development as more proficient writers do them.

Upon completion of the stories, students will share them with the class. Group reporters or individual writers will explain the process they used in creating their stories, such as how they decided on a topic, and why that particular topic interested them.

Have the students read the quote by Sir Richard Steele: "I have often thought that a story-teller is born, as well as a poet."

Have students complete research on Sir Richard Steele to find:

  • Was he a story-teller, poet, or writer who was known for his works in literature?

  • How did he become "Sir" Richard Steele? Was he born with the title, or was it bestowed on him by some queen or king?

  • If he was given the title, why or how did he earn it?

  • What were his beliefs, values, and view on life?

  • Give an example of other work he wrote.

Have the students share their findings with the class.

Ask students to research the lives of story-tellers, and to interview them if possible to find:

  • How did they become story-tellers?

  • What skills are required to become a good story-teller?

  • How do they decide on the stories they are going to tell?

  • Can being a story teller provide one with enough resources (salary) to make it a full-time career?

  • How did students demonstrate their understanding of the writing process?

  • Was the strategy of group writing an effective method of helping less experienced writers? Why/why not?

  • How did students feel differently about writing after completing this activity?


Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.