The Use of a Journal to Improve Students’ Writing

Beginning in the second year of study, I have students keep journals of their writing. I give the students a topic to write about and ask them to respond. Topics vary from themes in the current chapter to topics of student interest. The length of the entry and grammatical complexity ranges from simple to more difficult depending on language level. I then correct each entry and make a list of common errors which I present/reteach in the next class. I then ask the students to keep a running list of such mistakes at the beginning of their notebooks to refer to in the future. Thus, they are less likely to make the same mistakes in the future and they gradually improve writing skills. I have used this in my Russian classes and in ESL classes as well.