Teaching Writing: How to Develop Voice

Teaching writing is one of the most important skills a teacher can pass on. There are several aspects to developing skillful writers. Voice is one of the most important.

How to teach kids to write passionately and effectively requires a foundation. That includes teaching the trait of voice by using proper and effective strategies. Teaching writing skills begins with a systematic approach to writing. It includes ideas and organization, finding voice in writing, word choice selection and creating sentence fluency.

Reading is fundamental. It is important to teach students how to write.

J.K. Rowling

How to develop the writer’s voice

A writer’s voice is the personality of the person telling the story coming through. You can hear it. So how do you teach it?

Journalists have been told to write like you talk. And it is good advice from an editor. Voice, however, is actually a reflection of an entire personality, including speech patterns. And a writer can have more than one voice and create voices specifically for characters. Voice is created by attitude, tone, and personal style.

Developing a student writer’s voice means explaining that and allowing them to express themselves. Tone of voice in writing is similar to a tone of voice in singing. The more a student reads the more that student will begin to understand voice.

Most students are not sure how to add voice to their writing and do not have a clear understanding of what strong voice truly sounds like. Exposing them to what strong voice sounds like, through reading, will help build their own writing voices.

Six traits of teaching skillful writing

The foundation for skillful writing is based on a number of bricks. A good – essential — resource is Creating Writers Through 6-Trait Writing Assessment and Instruction by Vicki Spandel.

This book is designed to give students the preparation they need to become writers for life.

“Written by the pioneer of 6-trait writing, this fifth edition brings everything up to date, offering a comprehensive overview of the best education strategies and philosophies of writing assessment and instruction. It provides clear guidelines on helping students draft, assess, and revise their writing, as well as explicit criteria to show students precisely what they must do to succeed as writers in virtually any situation.”

The six traits are so widely used at the state level, many school districts are incorporating them into state standards and state assessments. This book can dramatically help teachers to prepare their students for success on state tests and beyond.

Learn more about teaching writing skills

Skillful writing is part of the Common Core Anchor Standards for Writing. As a teacher, the right course can guide you through meaningful exercises, to be able to skillfully teach the trait of voice.

You will develop useful, targeted student-based activities that can be used in the classroom. A cache of writing prompts, a targeted rubric or scoring guide, and an individualized lesson plan that conforms to Common Core standards will guide you.

“Teaching the Foundation for Skillful Writing” lays out a systematic approach to the teaching of writing, one aspect at a time, using the six traits of writing vocabulary.