Skills to Emphasize in Writing for ELL 4, Writing 1, and Writing 2

Course Descriptions for Writing 1, Writing 2, and Writing 3
Writing 1: Students in Writing 1 (formerly known as Writing for ELL 4) can competently
respond to a prompt without requiring too much inference on the part of the reader. They
are aware of the need to use periods, capital letters, and articles, but they don’t consistently
do so. Their vocabularies are also limited, so they may repeat language they know how to
write well, they may frequently write run-on sentences, and they may make many errors
spelling common words.
Instructional Focus: Students in ELL 4 need regular practice using the simple present, the
present continuous, the simple past, and the simple future (with “will”). They also need
continual practice applying agreement rules and using capitals and periods in their writing.
Promotion Requirements: A student is ready for Writing 2 when he/she can use simple
SVO sentence structure to compose 4-5 lines in response to a prompt. The student’s
writing should make sense, demonstrate consistent use of capitals and periods, include
appropriate, well-spelled, everyday vocabulary, and demonstrate solid competence using
the simple present, the present continuous, the simple past, and the simple future.
Writing 2: Students in Writing 2 can competently use the simple present, the present
continuous, the simple past, and the simple future, but they need to become adept at
moving back and forth between these tenses in their writing. In addition, they need
practice using irregular verbs in the past and writing with the present perfect. While they
may competently use capitals, periods, and question marks, Writing 2 students need to
improve their use of simple prepositions, articles, and commas, and they need to learn how
to compose a topic sentence. They also need to prepare for the TABE Language Test M.
Instructional Focus: Students in Writing 2 need weekly practice writing simple, clear
sentences that show correct use of capitals, periods, articles, commas, apostrophes, simple
verb tenses, agreement, prepositions, and articles. Writing 2 students need to work on
writing complete sentences (not run-ons) with good spelling and correct use of simple
tenses and common prepositions. They should learn how to write in paragraph format by
indenting their first sentence, composing a short topic sentence, and including 3+
sentences that all relate to the same picture prompt. Writing 2 students should also have
frequent opportunities to correctly use negative expressions (didn’t, doesn’t, don’t, isn’t,
aren’t, won’t, etc.) and expressions of obligation and common modals (e.g. have to, need to,
want to, must, should, and can) in their writing. In addition, these students also need to
have multiple opportunities to apply agreement rules. If a student in Writing 2 continually
writes with the following types of agreement errors, he/she is NOT ready for Writing 3:
A. The boy have two friend.
B. Last week we goes to Target to buy a dresses.
C. Many student study two day each week.
Computer Skills: Writing 2 students need to use computers to create and edit their
writing. They need to know the parts of a computer, to develop basic keyboarding and
mouse skills, and to practice creating, editing, printing, saving, and reopening documents.
Promotion Requirements: Writing 2 students can move to Writing 3 when they can
consistently compose complete sentences in the simple present, the present continuous,
the simple past, and the simple future (“will” or “be + going to ___”) as appropriate, with
very few errors in agreement and simple punctuation (e.g. periods, apostrophes for
possession and contractions, commas between the date and year, cities and towns).
Writing 3
Writing 3 students should already know what a topic sentence is, but they need continual
practice outlining and writing a 5-8 sentence paragraph that includes a topic sentence, at
least 3 related, supporting sentences, and a concluding statement.
Instructional Focus: While in Writing 3, students should continue to practice using the
simple past, simple present and simple future appropriately in their writing, and they
should develop proficiency in using the past continuous and the present perfect. Although
Writing 3 students have seen definite and indefinite articles before, they need frequent
practice in knowing when to use a, an, the, (or nothing) with count and non-count nouns
(e.g. I’d like to buy a book; I’d like to buy the red book on that shelf; I buy books very
often; Books are interesting). Students in Writing 3 also need to practice making their
writing more interesting by using a variety of language such as synonyms, connecting
words & expressions, adjectives, adverbs, adverbial clauses, compound & complex
sentences, etc. Finally, Writing 3 students need regular practice completing exercises that
will prepare them to take the TABE Language Test M.
Computer Skills: Writing 3 students will continue to improve their computer skills. They
will use Microsoft Word to create and edit documents. In addition, they will learn to copy,
cut and paste, to change fonts and font sizes, to use tool bar icons, to adjust line spacing,
and to use the dictionary, spelling, and thesaurus tools. It would be beneficial if they also
learned to use Google Docs to save their work.
Promotion Requirements: In order to be promoted to Writing 4, students in Writing 3
must be able to independently compose (in 30 minutes) a simple paragraph in response to
a picture or written prompt with very few errors in verb tense use, articles, punctuation,
spelling, and agreement. The sentences they produce must relate well to the prompt and to
one another, they must be easy to understand, and the writing must flow in a logical order
with no run-ons.