The Writing Process: Stages & Activities

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  • 0:01 Writing Process
  • 0:51 Prewriting
  • 2:14 Writing & Revising
  • 4:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Writers don't just sit down and write; they go through a process to perfect their writing. In this lesson, we'll look at the writing process and how teachers can use it in their classrooms, including specific activities for each stage.

Writing Process

Dahlia is a teacher who loves writing and is very knowledgeable in proper composition techniques. She also wants her students to learn to be skilled writers. When Dahlia is writing, she follows a certain set of steps that aid her in her thought process. She believes if she teaches her students those steps, it will help build their confidence while honing their abilities.

Writing is a process and that process is not intuitive. In other words, children must be taught the steps in the writing process because they won't figure them out on their own. Though the steps of the writing process are taught and practiced from a very young age, they are applicable to all types of writing and can be used throughout adulthood.

To help Dahlia plan her writing instruction, let's look closer at the writing process and sample activities that she can assign her students at each step of the process.


When Dahlia wants to write something, she doesn't just sit down and write. Instead, she starts with an idea and nurtures it through different prewriting activities. Her students need to learn how prewriting can help them.

The first stage in the writing process is prewriting, or activities done before starting a first draft. These activities in the prewriting stage are designed to help a writer clarify his or her thoughts and make a plan for the first draft.

Brainstorming and outlining are two popular forms of prewriting. Dahlia can give her students graphic organizers to help them brainstorm or outline their pieces. For example, the popular Venn diagram can help students brainstorm how two things are alike and different when they are writing a piece comparing and contrasting two things.

Free writing, when students just write whatever comes to their mind, is also a good brainstorming activity. In this way, students can get some ideas down on paper without worrying about whether they are any good. Later, they can sort through what they've brainstormed and separate the good ideas from the not-good ideas.

Outlining is particularly useful for nonfiction pieces. Students can use a graphic organizer to help them outline their main ideas and supporting details as they plan what to write.

Writing & Revising

Dahlia thinks prewriting is a very important stage in writing, but it's not the only stage. The writing stage comes after prewriting and involves composing a first draft. During this stage, students can use the graphic organizers they used during prewriting to help them organize their ideas on paper. For example, if Dahlia has her students make an outline, they can use that outline to help guide them as they write. Each main idea and its supporting details can serve as a new paragraph.

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