Skip to content
Home » How to Close Read Students’ Writing – What Teachers Learn About Writing

How to Close Read Students’ Writing – What Teachers Learn About Writing

When assignments are handed out and you eagerly await your turn at the whiteboard, you may not be prepared for the content that awaits you. Perhaps you’ve been asked to read and comment on an outstanding piece of work, or perhaps you’re presented with an insightful report on a current event. Whatever the case, when the bell rings you can bet that you’ll be plunged straight into a world of words and ideas that can leave you both mesmerized and engaged. While this is an incredible opportunity for you as a teacher, it can also be rather difficult to digest all of this information and be prepared to give your students constructive feedback. 

Regardless of whether you have experienced this yourself or know someone who has, one thing is for sure – teaching is never easy. Indeed, as a teacher, whether you teach high school or elementary school children, one thing is for sure: you’ll always come back to assignments time eager to dig deeper and learn more. And what’s the best way to learn? Self-reflection and feedback. So it should come as no great surprise that one of the main tasks that you’ll tackle when it’s time for you to “close the read” is to reflect on your own learning and the performance of your students. In this post, we’ll explore how you can use feedback to improve your practice and further your students’ educations. Let’s get started.

Why Should You Give Your Students Feedback?

One of the most essential parts of being a teacher is to constantly seek ways to improve yourself and your approach to teaching. And one of the best things that you can do for your students is to give them constructive feedback that will help them move forward and grow as writers. As we’ve established, reading and commenting on your students’ work is an important part of a teacher’s workload. However, as a means of learning, it can also be rather demotivating when you struggle to find the words to describe your feelings about a particular piece of writing. 

But what if there was a way for you to find the right words and give your students helpful feedback? What if you found a way to engage with their work and motivate them to improve?

Think back to when you first started teaching – what exactly did you enjoy most about it? Was it the engaging students, the challenging assignments, or the joy of helping someone learn? If you had to choose just one thing, it’s probably best to say that it was the rewarding feeling of helping students learn to write well. 

In other words, you enjoyed the process of teaching and being there for students as they worked through their struggles and grew as writers. And what is the best way to continue on this path? By continually giving your students useful feedback on their work so that they can continually improve their skills.

How Can You Give Useful Feedback To Your Students?

So how can you give your students feedback that will help them improve their skills and grow as writers? Consider the following: 

  • As a teacher, you have a responsibility to guide your students through the learning process. And one of the best ways to do this is by providing them with useful feedback on their work. While it’s certainly rewarding to read your students’ work and be able to identify strengths and areas for growth, you must remember that you’re also there to help them find their feet and guide them towards independence.
  • Instead of merely pointing out errors in your students’ work, why not try and provide them with some constructive criticism. If you really want to be helpful, you can point out specific areas where the student might need to improve and provide some examples of how this could be done. For instance, you might say: “As someone who is new to this, you’ll probably want to add a bit more description to give the reader a better sense of the event. In addition, the use of more than two colors on a single page might be a bit much. As far as content goes, the information that you provide is just okay at best, and it’d be better if you expanded on this a bit more.”
  • Finally, as a teacher, one of your responsibilities is to set the bar high. In doing this, you not only expect your students to meet these high standards but you also want to inspire them to strive for more. And how is the best way to inspire your students? By showing them that you’re willing to be there for them as they learn and grow as writers. By being a constant source of encouragement and guidance, you can help your students find their voice, define their goals, and achieve excellence. 

By following these suggestions, you’ll not only be able to provide your students with useful feedback but you’ll also be doing them a favor. And who knows? Perhaps in the future, they’ll even thank you for it!