Adult Ed
Getting Started: Pre-Writing Techniques



There are many techniques available to help students get started with a piece of writing. Getting started can be hard for all levels of writers. “Freewriting” is one great technique to build fluency. That was explored in an earlier lesson plan:

This unit offers some other techniques. These techniques may be especially helpful with students who prefer a style of learning or teaching that could be described as visual, spatial, or graphic. Sometimes those styles or overlooked in favor of approaches that are very linguistic or linear. The approaches here will attend to a broader range of learning styles as they add variety.

Subject Matter

  • Writing: Writing Process, Pre-Writing, Autobiography, Exposition, Personal Narrative, Argumentation, Comparison and Contrast, Description.

Learning objectives:

Students will be able to:
  • Write more fluently (writing more with greater ease)
  • Generate writing topics
  • Select topics that will yield strong pieces of writing
  • Connect personal experience, knowledge, and examples to an assigned topic
  • Produce better organized pieces of writing


National Standards
National Reporting System of Adult Education standards are applicable here. These are the standards required by the 1998 Workforce Investment Act. See for details.


Pencils, colored pencils, pens, markers, crayons, unlined paper, magazines and newspapers with pictures inside, glue or paste, and paper. Big paper or poster board can make the pre-writing exercises more eye-catching, more of a “project,” and better for display.

Media Components

Video and TV:

Prep for Teachers

Make sure you try each of the activities yourself before you ask students to do them. That will give you a better understanding of the activities and help you recognize any potential points that may be confusing or difficult. This also gives you a sample to show the students. It’s much easier to create a diagram if you are shown an example of one.

Here are some Web sites that give background and even more ideas about you pre-writing, diagrams, graphic organizers, and other ideas to get started with writing. There is some repetition here. You don’t have to read them all. But check them out and see what you think.