Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Prewriting Strategies

Evelyn Rivera
Lee County School District


Tired of listening to students saying they don't know how to start writing? This lesson guides students in selecting appropriate prewriting activities to make writing a painless and fun experience.


The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

The student uses a prewriting strategy suitable for the task (for example, brainstorming, using a graphic organizer, listing ideas).


-One poster chart of a completed Venn diagram (see Associated Files)
-One poster chart of a completed web (see Associated Files)
-One poster chart of a completed Four Square chart (see Associated Files)
-One poster chart of a completed T-chart (see Associated Files)
-Prewriting Strategies Activities for all students (Formative Assessment). (See Associated Files, pages 7-10)


1. Prepare two posters showing the water cycle.(see "The Water Cycle," pages 4 and 5 in the Associated Files)
2. Prepare three posters each showing one completed prewriting strategy (for example, Venn diagram, web, T-chart, Four Square chart.) (See Associated Files, pages 1, 3, and 6.) Remember that these posters are to be posted on the walls.
3. Make copies of the Prewriting Strategies Activity (Formative Assessment) sheet for each student (see Associated Files, pages 7-10)


1. Ask students if they use any strategy to organize information before writing a paragraph or essay.

2. Have students share their strategies and explain that today we will learn about different prewriting strategies suitable for different tasks.

3. Display two posters showing the water cycle (see Associated Files). One poster shows the information on a web organizer, and the other poster shows the information on a cycle organizer. Teacher makes sure the students understand the water cycle by explaining or reviewing the process involved. The following information explains the water cycle in simple words: The earth has a limited amount of water. That water keeps going around and around in what we call the “Water Cycle.” This cycle is made up of a few main parts: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.
- Evaporation- Is when the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turn it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake or ocean and goes into the air.
- Condensation- Water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into liquid, forming clouds. This is called condensation.
- Precipitation- Precipitation occurs when so much water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore. The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow.
- Collection- When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may fall back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land. When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink, or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts all over again.

4. Ask students to study both charts and determine which of the two better displays the water cycle.

5. Students take turns at explaining why one of the two charts is more suitable for this task than the other.

6. Display other poster boards showing one completed prewriting strategy in each (for example, Venn diagram, web, T-chart, Four Square chart), (see Associated Files). Teacher fills in each chart with any information/topic of his/her choice.

7. Divide the class into groups of three to four students.

8. Assign each group to a chart.

9. Instruct each group to discuss and evaluate the assigned prewriting strategy following the process modeled earlier.

10. Invite each group to discuss their chart with the rest of the class. Make sure that each group explains the reason (s) why the chart is or is not suitable for the task. Teacher provides verbal feedback to each group.

11. After all groups have finished their presentation, tell them that they are going to repeat the process individually.

12. Discuss the Prewriting Performance Rubric with the class (see Associated Files).

13. Give students the Prewriting Strategies Activity (see Associated File) as a formative assessment.

14. Based on the results of the assessment, decide if this strategy should be extended or practiced again.


The formative assessment is continual and ongoing throughout the course of this lesson. Student should be able to select four strategies to organize information before writing, such as webbing, Venn diagram, Four-Square chart, cycle organizer, or listing ideas. The teacher should ask questions to individual students while they work in groups in order to monitor who understands the concept and who does not. A Prewriting Performance Rubric (see Associated Files) is used to assess if students have learned how to choose the most appropriate prewriting strategy for the assigned task.


Ask each group to modify their prewriting strategy in a way that makes it more live and useful. An example of this is to color each part of a web with a different color (each colored section delineates one paragraph in an essay). Have each group present their modification to the rest of the class.

Attached Files

Handouts, Rubric, and Assessment for this lesson     File Extension: pdf

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