Teachers and textbooks often focus on accuracy of the language and forget about fluency. After all, it’s usually easier to correct errors than it is to get students to speak and write faster.
Doesn’t fluency come naturally with time anyway? Maybe, but maybe not. Keep on reading for an activity that helps students with writing fluency.
ESL Writing: Fluency + Accuracy
For speaking and writing, there are two main ways to evaluate it: fluency and accuracy. Fluency is how fast you are able to do it. Accuracy is how good your grammar and vocabulary are. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the simple explanation! Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this article.
Don’t Forget Fluency Practice
Most English writing classes and textbooks focus on accuracy. It’s much easier for a book, or teacher to point out grammar and vocabulary errors than to teach you to write quickly. However, it’s important to work on both.
The good news is that you can easily do it yourself! Here’s how I helped my students with fluency in writing when I taught in South Korean universities.
Here’s How to Practice Writing Fluency for ESL Students
Here’s how I set this writing activity up for my students (I teach English in a university in South Korea). Or, how you can do it yourself.
Get a notebook. Use it only for this, and not for other English writing practice. Each day (or whatever time interval you decide-twice a week, or 10x a month, etc.), give yourself a topic. For example, “My family,” or, “Plans for the weekend,” or, “Hopes for the future,” or, “My favourite book.”
Then write about that topic for 5 minutes (or 10 minutes once you get used to it). Put away your cell-phone and dictionary. The goal is to write quickly. Use only grammar and vocabulary that you know. If you don’t know how to spell something, just guess. It doesn’t matter. Focus on writing quickly!
The Most Important Thing…
This is the most important thing- your pen should NEVER stop moving. If you can’t think of anything, write this sentence, “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t…”
After two or three times, you’ll think of something else! Make sure your pen does not stop moving! Write quickly. Grammar and vocabulary don’t matter for this activity.
There certainly is no need to use a cellphone to look up a word you don’t know. Just find another word to write, or leave a blank space and you may think of it later. Just keep going.
Keep Track of your Progress
Over time, you’ll notice that the amount you write increases! You can make a simple chart to keep track of this. Count the number of lines you write after each session and mark it on your paper. The quick way to do this is to come up with an average word count per line from the first session and then use that number to count lines during each subsequent session.
Remember that the goal is to write more quickly, not to write accurately. You can work on grammar, vocabulary and structure at other times.
More ESL Writing Tips
If you want to improve your ESL writing skills, you’ll need to check out this book on Amazon: 71 Ways to Practice English Writing: Tips for ESL/EFL Learner. This tip about writing fluently is from that book and there are 70 more tips just like it.
The English writing tips range from study skills and habits, to formal writing, to informal writing where the goal is to just have fun while using English. Emails, essays, organizing your ideas, job applications. It’s all there!
The book is practical, easy to read, well-organized and we’re sure that it’ll help you improve your English writing skills. You certainly won’t get bored with practicing writing as the activities are varied and interesting.
71 Ways to Practice English writing is for beginners, intermediate, as well as advanced students. Everyone can improve their ESL writing with consistent practice! Are you ready to improve your skills?
You can get the both in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference guide. Or, take a copy with you on the bus or subway for some quick tips on the go.
You can check out this book of writing tips for yourself over on Amazon:
Have your Say about this English Writing Tip
What are your thoughts about this tip for improving your English writing speed? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Or, if you have any questions about this exercise.
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