By tutor Darla: www.tutapoint.com/darla.n
Certain writing strategies work better for some writers than others do, and part of the reason may be writers’ different learning styles. I’ll share writing strategies I learned as a university writing tutor for these four learning styles: visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic.
Using colors and pictures whenever possible will be effective. Highlight important phrases on the assignment sheet. Make a word web when brainstorming, and keep it nearby when drafting.
Leave white space anywhere in the draft where more content seems necessary to draw your attention to those areas later. When writing an explanation or description, try sketching or diagramming the idea before writing about it.
When writing a research paper, color-code the sources. Similarly, when learning a citation style, try color-coding elements of each full citation on the Works Cited or Reference page. For instance, the author could be green, the title could be blue, and the publisher could be purple.
When revising, highlight the thesis statement, topic sentences, and transitions to help assess structural quality. Also, highlight seemingly irrelevant sentences. Print the draft before editing because it’s often easier to spot small mistakes off screen. Then, circle misspellings or words that don’t quite express the intended meaning. Circle or highlight typos, punctuation mistakes, and grammar mistakes.
Aural (or Auditory)
Reading aloud will be beneficial. Read the assignment directions aloud. Brainstorm aloud, recording yourself or talking with someone else so that you don’t forget any voiced ideas. Ask questions about the topic aloud.
If you get stuck while writing, try recording yourself talking about what you want to say. Countless times, I’ve asked stumped writers what they want to write, and they tell me a clear idea. This prompts me to say, “Yes, write that. That sounds great!”
When revising, ask yourself or someone else questions about the ideas and organization. Read the draft aloud as if for the first time, or have someone else read it to you. Then, read just the thesis and topic sentences to hear whether the ideas sound as though they are in the correct order. When working with an unclear spot, try explaining aloud what you mean. Then, write what you said.
When reading paraphrases of sources, read the paraphrase and then the original material to ensure they don’t sound too similar. Read citations aloud to ensure all necessary elements are present.
The writing strategies for this learning style are straightforward because reading and writing are key acts. Freewriting will probably be the most helpful brainstorming strategy. Outlining may also work. Read this outline before drafting to ensure it makes sense. Reread the assignment directions and the outline while drafting.
When revising, underline parts that seem irrelevant or unclear. Then, reread the sentences around those parts to determine how to revise. Read the thesis statement and topic sentences to check for coherence. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to assess word choice. Create a log of your common mistakes and misspellings for reference.
Movement is key in these strategies. When researching, use printed versions of sources so that you can move them around as you work. Sort them based on relevance or source type. Write each main idea on an index card or a sticky note, and move them around to determine how to organize the paper.
Write while doodling, chewing gum, playing with a small object, or sitting in different positions and places. Pace the room if you become stuck.
When revising, work with a printed copy of the draft. Literally cut and paste portions of the draft to strengthen the organization. Cut out portions that seem unnecessary. Move a pencil along each word when reading. To check for agreement, put one finger on the subject and on the verb or on the pronoun and on the antecedent.
Of course, you can always try a strategy that doesn’t fall under the category for your learning style. Doing so can spark creativity or be effective if given an unusual sort of assignment.
This originally appeared as a post I wrote for blog.enroll.com