Writing has not always come naturally to me. Battles with depression and grief oftentimes depleted my cup. At times, when my cup is filled, I go through similar downs like everyone else (writer’s block and syntax). Syntax stands out because the flow of our writing matters just as much as the content. Now, I am not an editor nor do I claim to know all English Langauge dos and don’ts. But, I will let you in on a little secret. The secret is one most people already know. It is elementary, and I teach it to my struggling and learning disabled writing students every single school year. I teach them to write out loud.
Writing out loud gives my students a way to process their writing as visible and concrete. Simply it is called a read aloud. When I model the read-aloud writing for students, they get to see the thinking process. This is when I not only read my writing but question it. One of my favorite questions to ask in front of my students are, “Does my sentence make sense?” This question leads directly to syntax. Sometimes we can hear our errors.
I also ask about the context of my writing. In my narrative, if Jill is standing at a table, but I meant for her to be sitting, I ask myself, “Should Jill sit or stand?”. Asking myself out loud allows my brain to picture what I truly want to convey to my readers. This is very important for students since many of my students have visual or auditory processing disorders.
Another way to write out loud is to draw your message. Now, I know we are not all artists, but you do not have to be to sketch a scene. To go from a drawing to writing, to reading it out loud supports proper syntax and context. I use visuals to support learning in my classroom daily.
Writing out loud not only helps your writing, but it helps with speaking. As writers, we are often asked to speak. This strategy can help us learn to speak on our feet since sometimes we are not given much notice to properly prepare for an engagement.
Reading our writing out loud also helps with timing. Many of us upload our writing to our blogs, apps, and websites such as Wattpad. People are on the go today and most of the time, they want to know how long it will take to read a chapter or two.
Finally, writing out loud allows for engagement. When reading your writing out loud, if you are not engaged and enthused, then your writing is not. You can ask yourself, as I ask my students, “How many actions words did you hear? How did my descriptions show and not just tell the reader my intentions or the intentions of my characters? Did I use parts of speech correctly?”
Dawnies, I write out loud so much that it has become a part of me. It may seem silly or childish at first, but it works. Give it a shot! Don’t forget to get your freebies by signing up for my email subscription.