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Prewriting 11,448 views

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Prewriting is the first step in writing an essay. Prewriting generates ideas, explores topics, avoids frustrations when writing an essay and provides direction. There are many different methods in pre-writing such as webbing, journaling and creating a chart.

Prewriting is one of those steps in writing that's often forgot about, but also important. I want to spend a little bit of time talking about it.

Prewriting is generally the time that you take before you write, to generate ideas, explore your topic. It provided direction, and it really does help avoid frustrations later. My belief is, the more time you put into thinking about your topic, generating your ideas, and then organizing them, the easier it is to actually sit down, and write whatever paper you're writing.

My general steps for prewriting are; first, identify the topic. Sometimes this can be really easy because, your teachers give them to you. Then, determine your purpose. What is it that you're going to say about it. Again, sometimes your teacher will tell you what direction you're supposed to go. You'll just need to refine this. Then take the time to generate ideas.

So my only trick that I have for you WITH prewriting is simply give yourself time if you have it. Time is relative. so if you've got a three-week assignment, give yourself a period to do it. If you'VE got 30 minute on the ACT, or the SAT to do a writing section, give yourself a couple of minutes to do it. But take the time to generate these ideas.

Let's take a look at what some prewriting would look like. I'm going to take one of my favorite essay topics that I give my students, which is, write about your favorite place in space, or what's going on.

So I'm first going to identify my topic. If I had that favorite place in space, one of mine is Wrigley Field. You can't beat it. It really isn't as bad scene and how so much you're seating behind a pole but we won't talk about that.

Wrigley Field, I've identified my topic. What's my purpose? I'm going to say that it's one of my favorite locations. Now is where I need to start generating ideas. There's a variety of different ways to generate ideas. I'm going to take you through three of my favorite ways.

The first is to simply do a web. That's where you just throwing up different ideas about Wrigley Field, and then webbing off of them. So I might put Wrigley Field in the middle. Then I really like it, because the food is good. Now I'm thinking about food. It's got the best hotdogs in the world. I love the helmet nachos. They are actually my favorite, special treats that I get.

Then I also think about the history. So I'm going to come over here, and do the history of Wrigley. The fact that there wasn't lights until 1988. I know that's really recent. I love also the architecture that I'm thinking about, so I'm going to put architecture up here.

Scoreboard is one of my favorites. It's one of the only manually run scoreboard. So you can see how webbing works. I just start coming up with ideas, then they trigger more ideas. Eventually, I get them all in a web. This is going to help me decide what I want to put in my paper.

Another kind of prewriting that I like, is just a chart. So maybe I start over here. I start with Wrigley Field at the top. I start listing some categories like I did over here, but maybe in a little bit more organized fashion. So I like the food, I like the architecture. I like the history. I like the players. I like the announcers.

Then from there in my chart, I can divide up and add ideas over here. So I've got my categories and that's really going to influence my further thinking.

The final thing that I actually really like to do when I'm thinking about ideas, or prewriting for my essays, is to simply journal about it. So I might start here, just sit down, and just give myself maybe three or four minutes to just write about Wrigley. So I would start, and the minute I let my pen, pencil or marker whatever hit the paper. I'm just going to keep going, and not let up. So Wrigley Field I remember going here with my grandpa, and so on, and so forth.

I would do that for 3 or 4 minutes. And even if I ended up talking about a story about my grandpa, because it led me down that path, I would just go there. Then when I go through my journal, I circle major ideas; grandpa, I remember. That would help me trigger things that I might want to include, or different directions that I want to go with my paper.

So hopefully these three different methods of prewriting will help you. Just remember give yourself time, because it's a really crucial aspect of writing paper.