Giving Positive Feedback in Writing

by Jimmie Lanley on December 2, 2010

Giving Positive Feedback in Writing

When you are helping your child in the revising stage of writing, be ever so careful with your criticism. If you are  like me, you breeze over all the strong things in the assignment and narrow in on the errors and the weaknesses.

I do see the positive aspects, but I tend to only verbalize the negative aspects. It’s part of my “hurry up and get cracking” attitude:   Let’s get these problems fixed so we can move on. But in doing so, I’m neglecting a really important part of the writing process.

Sprite needs to hear exactly what are the strong points of her writing as well as hear about the weaker parts.

Why?

paragraph writing1. It’s a confidence booster and an attitude improver.

2.  She may not even realize those are strong points. Those things may have happened accidentally. By pointing out the positive aspects, she is more likely to repeat them and understand why they are so important.

In order for the praise to work it must be two things:

  • genuine
  • specific

Just saying, “This is good” isn’t very helpful. The praise needs to tell exactly what was good.

Here are some examples of specific praise you can use.

  • This thesis statement is very clear. When I read it, I know exactly what your essay will be about.
  • This paragraph is full of details. This one even made me laugh. This one gave me a clear image in my mind.
  • Your introduction really grabbed my attention. I wanted to keep reading.
  • This transition word is perfect for shifting to the next main idea.
  • I love how you wrapped up all the main points at the end. Your clincher was very strong.
  • Great use of comma and a conjunction to join to independent clauses!
  • This is a superb word choice.
  • Wow, there are no run-on sentences in this entire essay.
  • You didn’t get tricked by the its/it’s thing. Good job!

Notice my praise included conceptual elements (details, introduction), structural elements (transitions, thesis statement), and mechanics (its/it’s, run-ons). All are part of the written product, and all deserve some feedback.

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