The importance of teaching students how to dissect writing prompts is to enable them to differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials, while scripting a particular topic. Each word, sentence and an idea needs to go in tandem with the genre of the writing and do justice to the subject. Not a single word should be a page-filler and students need to shun verbiage. Proper prompts prevent the students from getting stumped midway through the writing. The first and the last sentences are important in a short writing assignment as one has to begin the paper and arrive at quick and tangible conclusions. Ruie Jane Pritchard (1993) writes, “Certainly, we teachers must encourage a student’s authority as a reader of literature….we must also help student readers expand their repertoires of response to and interpretation of literature” (p.24). Students need to realize that reading and writing are like the alternative beats of the same heart. Extensive and critical readings about the subject familiarize the students about the elements need to be incorporated within the writings. Writing is all about defining and the interpretation of the traits of a character, situation in a story etc. and the prompts help to kindle the sparks in the latent store of imagination and creativity of the student. Each student sees a new horizon through the prompts provided by the teacher.
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Prompts are the indicators to the mode of writing and they provide the line of thinking for the student to arrive at the desired conclusion. The descriptive part of the writing is the canvas for the creativity of the students. Creativity, in turn, sprouts from the knowledge and previous experience which the students connect to the prompt and establish the linkage to the mode of writing.
- Pritchard, R. J. (1993). Developing writing prompts for reading response and analysis. The English Journal, 82(3). 24-32. doi: 10.2307/820224