How to Tutor Writing

How to Tutor Writing

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
It's no wonder writing tutors are in such demand--writing is a crucial academic skill, and one-on-one coaching is often the best way for a student to become a better writer. As a writing tutor, it's important that you notice and encourage strengths while making a kind yet honest assessment of areas for improvement. Also, make sure the student does her own work--don't do it for her.


    • Have the student explain the paper topic to you and identify any problems she thinks her paper may have.
    • Avoid writing on the student's paper. Let her hold the paper and share it with you.
    • Don't edit. Oftentimes, students will hand a writing tutor a paper and say, "Edit this for me." But if you do that, you don't help your student learn. Offer to teach her to edit instead.
    • Teach with examples. It's hard to write an effective conclusion if you've never seen one. Show the student a couple of good papers on related subjects so she knows what she's working toward.
    • Start by encouraging the student to brainstorm ideas and get them on paper. You might even take notes while she brainstorms aloud.
    • After brainstorming, help her start to organize her paper. Ask her to identify which ideas go together.
    • After the student has written a couple of drafts, begin the sentence-level editing process. Encourage her to identify her own errors and show her how to look up corrections in a style guide (I use Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker).
    • Remind students that multiple drafts are necessary. No great writer "gets it" on the first draft!
    • If a student has a lot of grammar errors, take the time to teach the grammar principle behind the mistake.


  • One free online resource for developing your skills as a tutor is the website There I have posted excerpts from my book Be a Great Tutor. Enjoy!

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