In most middle-school grades (and some elementary grades), students are expected to write essays that include several paragraphs. Those paragraphs must contain a variety of sentence types and be relatively free of errors. The paragraphs must flow together to make a cohesive whole. Many students do not know how to write complete sentences, let alone a variety of sentences. They have difficulty writing organized paragraphs and themes, and their papers are filled with grammatical and other errors. Unfortunately, they do not learn these skills unless they receive specialized writing instruction. study for these tests unless they receive specialized instruction. Such specialized instruction can be provided by using the materials in the Expression Strand. Research has shown that students who master the strategies in this strand can learn how to write a variety of sentence types, paragraph types, and themes. They can learn how to monitor their written products for errors. They can also learn how to complete their assignments on time, take tests, and take essay tests. For example, ninth-grade students who could not write a majority of complete sentences before instruction in several writing strategies, earned scores higher than the average score for their whole district on a writing competency test after they had received the writing strategy instruction. These kinds of gains have been achieved when students are taught the strategies in small groups of four to eight students and received daily instruction including individual practice and feedback. Such gains may not be achieved if students do not receive individual feedback on their practice attempts.
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