Vol. 4(3), pp. 60-68, May, 2013
ISSN 1996-0816 © 2013 Academic Journals
International Journal of English and
Planning out pre-writing activities
Mogahed M. Mogahed
Faculty of Education, Mansoura University, Egypt.
Accepted 6 May, 2013
This article tackles a very important stage of the process of writing, namely pre-writing. This stage
helps students find ideas and arrange them properly. A framework is suggested that divides the pre-
writing stage into two sections: invention and arrangement. The former deals with coming up with ideas
whether they are relevant to the topic of writing or not. The latter has to do with organizing the ideas in
a meaningful way to write a well-developed composition. There are some activities accompanying each
section. The article takes a closer look the previous studies that focused on mainly on the pre-writing
stage. Pre-writing activities need much practice for students to be good at writing. Actually, mastering
pre-writing facilitates the later stages of writing, such as drafting and revising, and encourages
students to write more and more.
Key words: Writing, pre-writing, writing activities.
Starting writing is a problem for many, especially young
writers. Tompkins (2001) noted that the most neglected
stage is the prewriting stage. Blackburn-Brockman (2001)
adds that many pre-service teacher education students in
a composition methods course confess they did not pre-
write seriously in middle and high school, and that many
did not pre-write at all. However, it is an important stage
in the writing process frequently overlooked by beginning
writers. Thorne (1993) argues that prewriting is the most
important skill to emphasize and practice extensively in
basic writing classes. She describes basic writers as
almost universally neglecting prewriting activities. She
suggests some guidelines for teaching prewriting
The term "pre-writing" has two different meanings. It
can mean the stage before children learn writing, which is
referred to as hand skills. The other meaning, which is
the concern of this article, points to the first stage of the
writing process, followed by drafting, revision, editing and
The learner gathers information and plays with ideas
during the prewriting stage. Research shows that
learners who are encouraged to engage in an array of
prewriting experiences prove greater writing achievement
than those enjoined to get to work on their writing without
this kind of preparation (Cotton, 1997). Therefore, pre-
writing centers on engaging learners in the writing
process and helps them discover what is important or
true for them about any subject at any time. What is
certain is that if learners are to become proficient writers
they must develop pre– drafting activities.
For many writers, the difficult part of the writing
experience is the very beginning. Prewriting deserves
much time and attention as it helps solve a problem
called "writer's block". Kozma (1991) found that expert
writers spend more time during prewriting than in-
experienced writers. Learners might think that they
cannot come up with an idea. They literally have a blank
page and keep writing and erasing. They cannot even get
started because they have no clue how to start.
It might be some comfort that even professional writers
suffer from writer's block from time to time. Some of the
greatest writers in literature — Leo Tolstoy, Virginia
Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Joseph Conrad and Ernest
Hemingway — were tormented by momentary lapses in
their ability to produce text (Capital Community College
Foundation, 2006). Therefore, pre-writing activities,
especially invention activities, helps writers deal with and
overcome writer's block.
Ramet (2007) provided a useful checklist for getting
1. Do you read extensively?
2. Have you set aside a time to write each day?
3. Do you keep a notebook of ideas?
4. Do you have a good dictionary, thesaurus and access
to reference material?
5. Have you considered how the use of computers
impacts on your own writing ambitions?
6. Are you writing about what you know?
It should be noted that the pre-writing stage is rarely
discussed in textbooks. Most writing textbooks tackle the
writing process beginning with the drafting stage as the
first stage of writing. On the other hand, the pre-writing
stage is much discussed on various websites, such as
The following is a discussion of the previous related
studies that were done specifically on the pre-writing
REVIEW OF RELATED STUDIES
Out of the importance of the pre-writing stage, numerous
studies were done on it. These studies were conducted
from different angles. Reviewing these studies uncover
certain points concerning this stage. Bailey (1993)
focused on using commonly taught prewriting techniques.
Go (1994) argues that teachers of English as a Second
Language can use prewriting activities at the earliest
stages of instruction to help their students acquire good
language skills. Harrington (1994) employed an author's
storyboard technique which elementary school students
used as a prewriting strategy to roughly sketch out stories
on the storyboard frames. Winter (1996) examined
student perceptions of the value of a prewriting problem-
solving plan. Zhang and Vukelich (1998) explored pre-
writing activities and gender. Brodney et al. (1999)
studied the influence of prewriting treatments on the
quality of written discourse. Huang (1999) and Smith
(1999) investigated students' use of ideas provided by
peers during prewriting discussions. Worden (2009)
explored prewriting and revision in timed essay.
Schweiker-Marra and Marra (2000) LaRoche (1993)
investigated the effects of prewriting activities on
psychological factors such as attitude and anxiety. Many
studies manipulated technology in using pre-writing
activities as it is flexible is this regard, for instance Kozma
(1991), Huang (1999), Roberts (2002), Woolley (2002),
and Lorenz et al. (2009)
Bailey (1993) did a study to examine use of prewriting
techniques among 11 students of English as a Second
Language, of varying language backgrounds, enrolled in
a pre-freshman composition class. It investigated use of
both prewriting strategies and invention techniques taught
in class, looking at: (1) whether they would be used when
not specifically required; (2) the relationship between the
way a heuristic was taught and the way it was used; (3)
variety and frequency of use; (4) relationship between
native-language (L1) writing experience, second-
language (L2) proficiency, and use of various techniques;
and (5) how content generated by invention writing was
incorporated into a draft. Data were gathered from
students' pre-draft writing and first drafts of a total of 22
essays. Results indicate that ESL writers use various
invention techniques productively, and that these were
apparently unrelated to L1 writing experience or high L2
proficiency. However, L1 experience and L2 proficiency
may have limited impact on specific use of the
techniques. Subjects clearly preferred techniques that
lend themselves to approximating and translating the
inner dialogue of the composing process, and it appeared
they instinctively adapted invention techniques to
conform to the psychological reality of the composing
process when the technique, as taught, varied from this.
LaRoche (1993) developed a practicum to address
deficiencies in students' writing skills. The program goals
were to assess the students' abilities to use prewriting
strategies, to use supportive elements in writing, and to
evaluate students' progress using pre- and post-attitude
surveys and writing samples. The target group was 20
eighth-grade journalism students with mixed socio-
economic backgrounds. During the 12-week implemen-
tation period, journalistic skills, geared towards producing
an issue of the school newspaper, were the focal point of
the students' writing efforts. Students worked individually
and in small groups to complete activities which focused
on writing skills at the prewriting stage. Evaluation of the
effectiveness of the program included analyses of data, a
comparison of the writing samples using the rubric
designed by the Florida Writing Assessment program,
and attitudinal surveys completed by the students.
Results indicated improvements in writing skills achieve-
ment and attitudes.
Go (1994) argues that teachers of English as a Second
Language can use prewriting activities at the earliest
stages of instruction to help their students acquire good
language skills. Prewriting involves energizing student
participation in thinking, talking, group interaction, and
skeletal writing activities that become components of a
writing task. Prewriting activities not only help students
acquire the target language more effectively, but they
build interpersonal, thinking, and planning skills that can
62 Int. J. English Lit.
be utilized in other fields.
Harrington (1994) describes an author's storyboard
technique which elementary school students used as a
prewriting strategy to roughly sketch out stories on the
storyboard frames. She suggests that the technique
helps students to plan and organize their stories and
helps reluctant writers find the motivation to write.
Winter (1996) attempted to determine student per-
ceptions of the value of using a prewriting problem-
solving plan and its relationship to their success in
writing. The business communication students in the
study felt that the plan was beneficial, particularly for
persuasive messages, individual writing, and small-
group writing. In addition, participants seemed to feel that
the plan was worth preparing even when not required as
part of the assignment. The results suggest that the
problem-solving plan can be a useful tool for complicated
assignments and group work but that it should probably
be optional for simple assignments.
Zhang and Vukelich (1998) explored the influences of
prewriting activities on the writing quality of male and
female students with v arying academic achievement
across four grade levels. Participants were public school
students in grades 4, 6, 9, and 11. At each grade level,
students were assigned to one of two groups: writing with
prewriting activities or writing without prewriting activities.
Teams of appropriate grade level teachers developed a
pool of writing tasks, with one for each grade. The study
was embedded into the 1996 Delaware large-scale
writing assessment field test. Students in the prewriting
group had a prewriting session in which they were
encouraged to select a subject, collect information, list
their ideas using a graphic organizer, prepare a first draft,
and consult with peers for input. Researchers rated each
student's writing piece holistically and on five quality
aspects of writing. Results indicated that on average,
students who wrote with prewriting activities performed
better than students who wrote without prewriting
activities in grades 4, 6, and 11. In grade 9, students who
wrote without prewriting activities received higher scores.
Students' gender and academic achievement level had
strong influences on the effectiveness of prewriting, with
females consistently scoring higher than males.
The influence of prewriting treatments on the quality of
written discourse produced by fifth-grade students was
the central focus of the study of Brodney et al. (1999).
Students received one of four prewriting treatments:
reading paired with prewriting, prewriting-only, reading-
only, neither reading nor prewriting. Differences in the
quality of the students' compositions were examined on
the basis of scores obtained from a T-unit measure, a
holistic rubric, and an analytic measure. The study
included five classes of 5th-grade students randomly
assigned to classes at the beginning of the school year.
Four classes (n = 96) were randomly designated as
treatment groups, and the fifth class (n = 24) served as a
pilot group. A significant (p < .001) multivariate F-ratio
indicated that type of prewriting treatment significantly
affected scores on expository compositions. Reading
paired with prewriting before composing was found to be
the most effective prewriting instructional strategy.
Huang (1999) investigated the extent to which English-
as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) writing students in a
Taiwanese university used ideas provided by their peers
during computer-mediated prewriting discussions, and
the quality of the peers' comments. Subjects were 17
students in four writing groups. Transcripts of discussions
preceding the first drafts of two writing assignments were
analyzed, and students were then surveyed about the
comments they incorporated into their writing processes.
Results indicate that students did use some of the ideas
discussed during computer-mediated prewriting discus-
sions, but not very often. Some students did not use any
of the ideas presented to them. Almost half of the ideas
used were concerned with macro-level composition
issues such as topic appropriateness or overall essay
structure or content, and about one-fourth of the ideas
concerned paragraph-level issues, suggesting that the
quality of the comments was good. Activities or resources
that students perceived as useful in idea generation
included, in descending order of importance, textual
information from the school library or students' homes,
the students' own ideas, ideas from friends, textual
information from the textbook and teacher handouts, and
computer-mediated prewriting discussions. Instructional
and research implications are considered briefly.
Smith (1999) argued that communicative language
teaching (CLT) is compatible with cooperative learning as
both promote interaction through peer exchange. Co-
operative education can take group work one step further
and should therefore be incorporated into English-as-a-
foreign-language (EFL) writing classrooms. In English
writing classes in a Japanese junior college, formal and
informal types of group work were employed. Students
first wrote on a theme for a real purpose--an essay, letter,
poster, or article--which is then shared with classmates.
Second, the tasks followed recognized cooperative task
strategies, such as three-step interview, think-pair-share,
roundtable, blackboard share. Through cooperative
learning (CL), the teacher carefully plans a theme-based
task which takes group work one step further into inter-
dependent learning, where each student is accountable
for writing together with his or her peers. By encouraging
students to pool knowledge and background resources,
they think more critically and synthesize information to
develop a more in-depth understanding of a particular
topic, as well as the sharing process. To ensure effective
group work, the teacher has to monitor groups carefully
to keep the conversation in English and be sure that the
group does not rely on any single dominant or more
advanced student. Teachers who want to maximize
cooperative EFL learning need to become well versed in
cooperative techniques, as well as language acquisition
and group interaction.
Schweiker-Marra and Marra (2000) describe a program
where at-risk fifth-grade students were treated to a writing
program that utilized prewriting activities to see if their
written expression and writing anxiety would improve.
They compare students' before and after papers utilizing
their holistic scores on written expression. They
demonstrate that student writing anxiety can be lowered
through a writing program that emphasizes prewriting
Roberts (2002) pointed out that taking technological
paths to prewriting can be a new, exciting, and needed
innovation. An important rationale for using technology is
that the real goal of prewriting, in many ways, is to
rehearse or try out a great quantity of ideas. Later writing
stages focus on the quality of ideas and the refinement
and clarification of those, but poetry prewriting moves the
writer forward in preparation for the first draft. This paper
offers a strong rationale for the idea that the journey of
writing good poetry begins on a path that infuses
technology into the first stage of the writing process. This
study reminds us that technology should be considered a
tool because the quality of writing did not significantly
increase, but students using word processors actually
wrote more. Therefore, using technology for prewriting
activities makes absolute sense because the goal is to
create a bulk and range of ideas. No doubt, using
technology as a tool during prewriting activities with
poetry does abolish the fear of the blank page, because
the once-paper page is transformed into a less linear,
ever-changing blank or semi-blank screen. Prewriting
activities can be done anywhere and anytime because
much of what needs to happen in prewriting is pulling up
and organizing ideas, as well as ruminating, rehearsing,
and mulling over ideas. A student poet may do some of
his or her best prewriting while walking to the parking lot
or when bored in a school assembly. However, the
guiding organizational features and the nonlinear aspects
of technological applications make poetry prewriting effi-
cient, productive, and exciting. Technological applications
that use brainstorming software, databases and spread-
sheet applications, presentation software, CD-ROM soft-
ware, and the Internet show the variety of technological
paths one may wander in the prewriting process. In
conclusion, technology is indeed an appropriate and
powerful partner in providing intermediate students with
experience in poetry prewriting. Second, the process
necessary for writing: good poetry can start with
prewriting and be maintained through technological
paths. Hence, both the quality and the quantity of poetry
writing may be improved by integrating technology with
the prewriting stage. Ultimately, neither computers nor
flashy software can write poetry; however, taking a
technological path can engage learners in an interactive
and motivating manner that enhances poetry writing.
Woolley (2002) designed lessons that use the
informational power of the Internet for a prewriting
activity. Through various Internet sites, students gather
information about the history and celebration practices
associated with Veterans Day. Following the prewriting
activity, students write content-rich poems that honor
veterans. During the 45-min prewriting session, the 30
min of class discussion, and the three 30-min writing
sessions, the grade 6 to 8 students will: effectively use
their reading skills to identify main ideas and accurately
record information from numerous resources; develop
content-rich notes to use for a poetry writing assignment;
and learn about the origins of holidays and cultural
practices in the United States.
Lorenz et al. (2009) investigated the use of multimedia
graphic organizer software and how it influenced the
prewriting process for primary school children were
evaluated. An analysis of writing samples generated by
second-grade students with diverse writing abilities was
carried out. Students were given two opportunities to
participate in prewriting activities--one without and one
with the use of multimedia graphic organizer software.
The results indicated that the use of multimedia graphic
organizer software can provide some benefits to writing
for elementary school children.
Worden (2009) argued that it is widely assumed that
the constraints of timed essay exams will make it virtually
impossible for students to engage in the major hallmarks
of the writing process, especially revision, in testing
situations. This paper presents the results of a study
conducted at Washington State University in the spring of
2008. The study examined the occurrence of prewriting
and revision in 890 timed essay responses as well as the
impact of writing process on student scores. It was found
that both prewriting and revision occur more frequently in
timed essays than was previously realized. While
prewriting corresponded to higher scores, revision
corresponded to lower scores. These results encourage
composition scholars to reevaluate their assumptions
about both the validity of timed writing exams and the
efficacy of current practices in teaching the writing
Conclusions drawn from previous studies
Based on previous studies the following conclusions can
1. ESL writers use various invention techniques pro-
2. Learners prefer certain activities to others according to
their learning style and the nature of the topic.
3. Prewriting strategies indicated improvements in writing
skills achievement and attitudes.
4. Prewriting activities not only help students acquire the
64 Int. J. English Lit.
Figure 1. The suggested framework of the pre-writing stage.
target language more effectively, but they build inter-
personal, thinking, and planning skills that can be utilized
in other fields.
5. Prewriting activities help students to plan and organize
their stories and help reluctant writers find the motivation
6. Students felt that using a prewriting problem-solving
plan was beneficial, particularly for persuasive messages.
7. Students' gender and academic achievement level had
strong influences on the effectiveness of prewriting, with
females consistently scoring higher than males.
8. Technology, particularly the computer and multimedia,
provide a great venue for using pre-writing activities as it
is highly flexible, motivating and interactive.
Still, a framework encompassing the pre-writing stage
comprehensively is much needed. This framework
divides this stage into two sections and each section has
various activities for the writers to choose based on their
learning styles and the nature of the topic of writing.
Writers should have the freedom to choose among the
different pre-writing activities.
Based on the previous theoretical background and
previous studies, the following framework of pre-writing is
The suggested framework
Actually, prewriting could be divided into two steps:
invention and arrangement. The former is concerned with
activities that can be employed in order to come up with
good ideas and gain inspiration. The learner should try
different invention activities until he finds those that work
best for him. He should be open to other options.
Sometimes the learner may find the usual activities do
not work for a particular piece of writing. Therefore, he
should be ready to be flexible. The latter has to do with
arranging those ideas that the learners came up with in
the invention stage. Figure 1 shows the suggested
There are several invention activities available to the
beginning writers to choose what is suitable for them. Out
of nonsense and ramblings, something good will come,
some idea will catch fire right there on the page, there will
be sparks, patterns will emerge. The following are some
Most problems are not solved automatically by the first
idea that comes to mind. To get to the best solution it is
important to consider many possible solutions. One of the
best ways is brainstorming. Brainstorming is a useful
way of getting started or generating new ideas. Once
learners are familiar with the process, they can use this
activity on their own when they are stuck, revising their
work, or moving on to a new phase. Bobb-Wolff (1996)
argues that brainstorming can be a useful and enriching
tool in the EFL classroom and a means of showing
learners that they are collectively capable of generating
more ideas to improve their learning process than they
believed possible. This, in turn, leads to an increase in
their autonomy of learning and self-responsibility. But
most importantly, it improves the quality of learner
participation and learner production in class.
Obviously, free writing helps the writer gets in touch with
the big picture without getting sidetracked with details. It
is a non-linear activity, using the right side of the brain,
which deals with concepts and abstractions. As soon as
you begin to organize, edit and censor your ideas, you
have moved over to the left side of the brain, where the
linear thinking happens. That is where thoughts get
blocked (Mouser, 2000). Additionally, Darling (2004)
notes that many writing instructors use a free writing
exercise at the beginning of each class as a way of
getting the brain in gear. Free writing helps learners to
understand that not all writing they do is equally good and
not all writing must be kept. Writers must learn to discard.
By the end of writing, they may have a different focus on
the topic or even a completely new topic and keeping
earlier words and phrases might ruin the final product. On
the other hand, during free writing learners will often
come up with ideas and phrases that lead them to an
imaginative new direction. Because learners are not
focusing on a product, they take risks in free writing
without realizing it. This can result in the discovery of
something new, perhaps a new idea, skill, or insight
(Saskatchewan Education, 1997).
Listing is prewriting activity writers find useful. It means
doing just what its name suggests: listing possible topics
and then sublists of things the writer could say about
each topic. To illustrate, Sloane (2004) points out that a
list could consist of the main topic of regional dialects and
then sublists would be regional dialects you know or have
experienced. Additional sublists might be particular words
of each of those dialects, things you have noticed about
those dialects (that is New Yorkers speak fast), what you
think those dialects sound like. Scholes (1989) adds that
writers may use listing to jot down quickly all ideas they
can think of on a particular topic. Later, the writer may
group related ideas and write summary statements. The
writer may also use items from lists and summary
statements as prompts to explore new ideas.
The most familiar way of coming up with a topic is to ask
questions. Journalism refers to very simple questions:
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Answering
these questions initially does not seem very hard.
However, it is precisely when the writer has difficulty
answering a "why" that a real paper is beginning.
Learners focus upon audience as they consider what the
reader needs to know. The answers to these questions
will form the basis of the composition. Thus, the
journalists' questions are a powerful way to develop a
great deal of information about a topic very quickly.
Learning to ask the appropriate questions about a topic
takes practice, however. In addition, Gorrell (1996)
makes a case for students' using a focused, carefully
phrased question as the basis for prewriting and writing,
as opposed to a thesis sentence which can more easily
lead them astray.
Clustering is an activity developed and named by Rico
(1983) for accessing that state of consciousness often
called the right side of the brain in which we pattern,
design, connect and deal in complex images. Rico
defines clustering as "a generative, open-ended, non-
linear, visual structuring of ideas, events, feelings. It is a
way of mapping an interior landscape as it begins to
emerge". Further, according to Tomlinson (1998) clus-
tering is a pre-writing activity in which the writer free-
associates strings of ideas around a central word or idea.
It is a way of tricking the left brain into silence and using
the right brain to come up with unique overview of a
subject. Scholes (1989) adds that clustering, or grouping
ideas is a good way for writers who think spatially. In
addition to illustration using circles and lines, writers can
also construct clusters with either tree diagrams or
balloons and strings.
Interviewing means talking with people who know
something about a certain topic. Learners take on the
role of an interviewer as they interview. This experience
helps them learn to analyze people and events accu-
rately. The teacher may choose to model and demon-
strate the interview process by "talking aloud" a simulated
interview. Consequently, learners as interviewers need to
begin thinking of questions to ask (Wood and Fisher,
Looping is a free writing activity that allows the writer to
focus his ideas in trying to discover a writing topic. The
66 Int. J. English Lit.
writer loops one 5-10 min free writing after another, so
he/she has a sequence of free writings, each more
specific than the other. The same rules that apply to free
writing apply to looping: write quickly, do not edit and do
not stop. Looping goes like this: free write on an
assignment for 5-10 min. Then, read through your free
writing, looking for interesting topics, ideas, phrases, or
sentences. Circle those you find interesting. A variation
on looping is to have a classmate circle ideas in your free
writing that interests him or her. Then free write again for
5-10 min on one of the circled topics. You should end up
with a more specific free writing about a particular topic.
Loop your free writing again, circling another interesting
topic, idea, phrase, or sentence. When you have finished
four or five rounds of looping, you will begin to have
specific information that indicates what you are thinking
about a particular topic (UKWC, 2004).
At this point, the writer needs to consider the organization
of content. Arrangements activities build on invention
activities developed earlier. Once the writer put forward
some ideas during an invention activity, he/she moves to
arranging them in certain manner acceding to the nature
of the topic. One of the most widely used ways of
arranging ideas is graphic organizers.
Visual thinking can be expressed in many ways. Graphic
organizers are many ways for visual thinkers to arrange
ideas. There are unlimited ways to express these visual
ideas. Actually, graphic organizers have many names
including visual maps, mind mapping, and visual
organizers. Graphic organizers can be used in all phases
of learning from brainstorming ideas to presenting
findings. They can be used individually or in large groups.
A study by Robinson and Kiewra (1995) shows that two
experiments involving 153 college learners indicated that,
given enough time, learners studying graphic organizers
learned more hierarchical and coordinate relations. As a
result, they were more successful in applying the
knowledge and in writing integrated essays than were
learners studying outlines or text alone.
Graphic organizers can be used in various forms at the
teacher's or learner's disposition including charts, tables,
webs, venn diagrams and flow charts. Hence, the form of
the graphic organizer is chosen according to the nature of
the topic the learner is going to write on. Here are the
most common examples.
Spider map: Is used to describe a central idea: a thing (a
geographic region), a process (meiosis) or a concept
(altruism). This activity uses such key questions: What is
the central idea? What are its attributes? What are its
functions? (NCREL, 2000).
Series of events chain: Is used to describe the stages
of something (the life cycle of an animal); the steps in a
linear procedure (how to neutralize an acid); or a
sequence of events (how feudalism led to the formation
of nation states). Key questions include: What is the
object, procedure, or initiating event? What are the
stages or steps? How do they lead to one another? What
is the final outcome? (NCREL, 2000).
Fishbone map: Is used to show the causal interaction of
a complex event (an election, a nuclear explosion) or
complex phenomenon (juvenile delinquency, learning
disabilities). Key questions consist of: What are the
factors that cause X ? How do they interrelate? Are the
factors that cause X the same as those that cause X to
persist? (NCREL, 2000).
Charts: Good for writing directions of how to do
something, or for keeping a lot of different ideas in
categories (The Oracle Education Foundation, 2003).
Story maps: Good for retelling books, plays or
stories (The Oracle Education Foundation, 2003).
Cause and effect diagrams: Good for explaining how
something happened (The Oracle Education Foundation,
Timelines: Good for telling the order of how things
happen in time (The Oracle Education Foundation, 2003).
Webbing: This activity provides learners with a visual
picture of how words or phrases connect to a concept or
a topic. The teacher lists the target topic and builds a
web-like structure of words, phrases and verbs that
learners offer as being connected with the central topic.
Class discussion may follow to argue against or to defend
the perceived relationships of the called out words to the
topic and eventually a consensus is reached as to what
the class believes constitutes a "web" for that concept.
Web-centered activities encourage learners to make the
bridge from the abstract to the concrete. The use of
webbing also provides opportunities for the visual learner
to recall the connections for later use (Bada, 1996).
Concept mapping: It is a graphic organizer activity that
shows the relationships among concepts. Usually the
concepts are circled and the relationships are shown by
connecting lines with short explanations. To use this
activity, the teacher selects a main idea to be focused on
during the discussion. The teacher assists the learners in
identifying a set of concepts that are associated with the
main idea. Related concepts are then connected and the
links labeled with verbs or short phrases. The main
difference between the concept mapping activity and
webbing is that in this activity concepts are ranked in
related groups from most general to most specific,
whereas in webbing the concepts are not ranked, but
only linked. As in webbing, this activity assists learners in
visualizing how ideas are connected and how knowledge
can be organized (Bada, 1996).
Flowcharts: This activity assists learners in representing
position, role and order relationships among group
elements. Learners draw a representation of a sequential
flow of events, actions, character roles or decisions.
Flowcharts foster logical and sequential cognitive
development and help the learner to focus on
connections, relationships and interdependence of things
and events. It can also direct the learner to flesh out
details and specific points of reference; it hones learner
organizational skills, aids in planning and can be used for
writing outlines (Bada, 1996).
Venn diagrams: They can be used to create a visual
analysis of information that represents similarities and
differences among concepts, peoples and things. This
organizer is constructed by using two or more over-
lapping geometrical figures (i.e. circles, squares,
rectangles) that share an area in common. This style of
visual organizer helps learners manage their ideas and
plan out a writing assignment. The use of Venn diagrams
with learners is specially beneficial, since it offers an
alternative non-verbal form to process complex infor-
mation and at the same time moves the learners' minds
to higher cognitive levels (Bada, 1996).
Therefore, it is vital for learners to plan out prewriting
correctly, whether invention activities or arrangement
activities within the proposed framework. In such a way,
prewriting would become a key stage in the writing
process. Besides, learners should try more than one
activity until they know what works well for them. It goes
without saying that writing instructors should be fully
aware all these activities and how to teach them. There is
a need for the suggested framework as beginning writers
usually mix the invention section for generating ideas with
the arrangement section for organizing these ideas.
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