Teaching students to write a written response about their reading is very important. It can also be a CHALLENGE. Am I right? Some of the challenges I have encountered include:
- responses that doesn’t answer the question being asked
- responses that answer only part of a question
- responses with an answer, but no text evidence to support it
This used to drive me crazy, but not anymore! I implemented the RACES strategy with my students this year and it has made a HUGE difference.
Variations of this strategy (RACE, ACE, RACER, etc.) have been around forever. I like RACES the best. It is a really easy way to organize written responses. The acronym RACES stands for the five parts needed to write the answer.
This is an important part of the process. Students need to understand what they are being asked before they can write an answer. Many questions that students will be asked to answer are not even questions. For that reason, I teach my students to analyze the question. Analyzing the question includes three steps: read the question or prompt, underline the key words, and restate the question as a statement. Here’s an example: