Cut & Grow Writing Strategy for ELLs

Instructor: Frank Clint

Frank has been an educator for over 10 years. He has a doctorate degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.

The cut and grow writing strategy is an effective teaching tool for all students, especially ELL students. This lesson explains how to implement the strategy and how it can help students' writing.

Cut and Grow Writing Strategy

Stacy had a light bulb moment recently when Henry handed in a short scribbled paragraph with the claim that he had completed his essay. She had assigned an expository essay about how the internet impacts students' lives. This was not the first time Henry had turned in such a short piece, but it wasn't until this very moment that Stacy remembered a strategy she learned in her final year in college called the cut and grow writing strategy.

What Is It?

The cut and grow writing strategy is a way to help student revise their papers, or make the writing better than it was. When a student revises, he or she adds sentences, takes sentences away, replaces words with better ones, or moves sentences around, so they make better sense. In Henry's case, the strategy can also help with elaboration, which means adding more supporting details to his key points.


The strategy requires writing paper, construction paper, scissors, invisible tape and a writing utensil. Depending on the age group, chart paper, butcher paper and glue might work well for the activity.


Once a student finishes writing, the gist of the strategy is to ask the student to revise their paper by cutting it up and rearranging the pieces. You can adapt the strategy for any age group, so this may or may not require prompting on your part. For example, for a second-grade group of students:

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