Prewriting, the first step in the writing process, is really just a way to plan or brainstorm ideas for anything. As an IT student, prewriting will help you get something right the first time. Not only is this a good strategy for writing, it is a good strategy for the workplace and a good strategy for life.
|Readings, Resources, and Assignments|
Read the following before starting the lesson:
|Multimedia Resources (optional)|
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
Prewriting: The First Stage in the Writing Process
Professional athletes warm up before each game. Pitchers throw practice pitches, swimmers swim laps, and runners stretch. Why do they warm up? They warm up because cold muscles increase the likelihood of pain and injury. Just as an athlete warms up in order to avoid problems, so too must a writer.
There is no one best method for prewriting. You must find the strategy that works for you.
Think of this process as a storm, a brainstorm. Begin with a topic and write down as many ideas as possible. Good ideas, bad ones, it doesn't matter. The idea is to get them down.
Sometimes called mind mapping, clustering allows writers to explore relationships and fit ideas together. Begin with a subject written in the middle of your page. Use lines to connect and explore relationships between ideas.
This is probably the most unpredictable of the prewriting strategies, but if used correctly, it can be very effective for exploring your topic. The idea is to just let your ideas flow. Don't worry about style, spelling, grammar, or punctuation. In fact, don't worry at all. There is no judgment or format. Write down whatever comes to mind. It is critical to keep writing, even if you think you are saying nothing. Set a time limit, and just be free to write down your thoughts and ideas.
The questioning strategy might possibly be the easiest prewriting strategy as it helps the writer generate a lot of information in a quick and efficient manner. You become the journalist and ask who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Make sure that you read Introduction to Prewriting.
Review the Overcoming Writer's Block presentation.
These resources will prepare you to complete the practice activities below.
Activity 1: Practicing Prewriting
Consider this question: Should parents use a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device to monitor their teenage drivers? Is this ethical?
Activity 2 Prewriting Strategies
You have learned several prewriting strategies. In the last exercise, you practiced the questioning method. Now choose another strategy (brainstorming, clustering, or freewriting) to generate ideas about the same topic.
Should parents use a GPS tracking device to monitor their teenage drivers? Is this ethical?
No one likes to work harder than they have to, which is why many students avoid the concept of prewriting. The reality is that prewriting saves a writer time and frustration in the long run. So stretch a little, swim a few laps, throw a few pitches, and see the difference prewriting can make in accomplishing a writing task.
Now it is time to show what you have learned. Complete the assignment below.
Submit the Prewriting: Prewriting Strategies Worksheet.