Improving Your Writing Skills



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Improving Your Writing Skills

  • Deciding what writing you want to improve

  • Writing Business Correspondence

  • Writing reports

  • Writing CVs and Cover Letters

  • Writing Academic Essays

  • Tips for learning to write independently


Why Write?
We all need to write to share our ideas. Writing is creative and enjoyable. We enjoy: 

  • Writing stories

  • Writing letters to friends

  • Sending e-mail messages

We also use critical thinking skills when writing and re-writing

Getting Started

  • Step One: look at the advice sheet Deciding what writing skills you want to improve (W2) & find out what your writing needs are. Then look at Tips for learning writing independently (W7)

  • Step Two: decide what area to focus on and  look at the advice sheet for that area.
    Those advice sheets are:

    • Writing academic essays (W3)

    • Writing business correspondence (W4)

    • Writing reports (W5)

    • Writing resumes and cover letters for job applications (W6)

  • Step Three: make a plan so that you can check your progress (see advice sheet (W7) for help with your planning.

Hints for Better Writing
Read as much as you can before writing. This will give you ideas. You need a lot of time for writing and re-writing. Write often. Use diaries, learning journals, letters and e-mails to friends to improve your writing.

Top

Deciding what writing skills you want to improve









Academic Writing Course
(Intermediate - advanced)

General information about academic writing with examples. 



Writing, Setting and Marking Essays (advanced)

Very good on planning and structure of essays


- written with university courses in mind.

Essay writing for English tests (intermediate to advanced)

A step by step guide to essay writing.  



Thinking and Preparing Ahead

Make a writing profile. This may be:



  • a list of ways to check the things you often make mistakes with when writing, or

  • a list of strategies for improving your writing skills

  • Make your profile by answering questions like these:

    • Can I find a writing need to focus on

      • If 'yes', what is it?

      • If 'no', why do I want to improve my writing skills?

    • What type(s) of writing do I need most?

    • What type(s) of writing do I find most difficult?

    • What is level of my writing?

      • Elementary / Lower intermediate

      • Upper intermediate / Advanced

    • What do I want to achieve when I am finished?

Top
When you are working on a particular writing skill... Work on one focus area at a time.

Transfer your plan into action

  • Start writing now!

  • You have to practise writing to improve it. 

  • Make a plan.

Writing Business Correspondence


International Business Topics (Business) - advanced level

This book is very useful for improving business vocabulary and writing skills. Located in the English for special purposes section.



Useful Materials in the Learning Support Centre

  • Workplace English Office File (G1) - elementary level
    Located in the English for Special Purposes section, it covers memos, facsimiles and business letters.

  • Work in Progress (G21) - elementary level
    Located in the English for Special Purposes section, it covers general office skills. 

  • Business Objectives (G12) - intermediate level
    Located in the English for Special Purposes section. Very useful writing tasks in units 2, 8, 9 and 14. 

  • Panorama (A21) - advanced level
    Covers the skills necessary for academic writing of reports and essays. Located in the English section of the Learning Support Centre.

Top

Text Books

  • International Business Topics (Business) - advanced level. This book covers the writing of letters, reports, telexes and press releases. It is also very useful for improving business vocabulary and reading skills. Located in the English for Special Purposes section.

  • Business Correspondence (Business) - intermediate level. An introduction to business writing. It covers letters, facsimiles and memos. Located in the English for Special Purposes section.

  • Business Reports in English (Business) - intermediate to upper- intermediate level. Covers report reading and writing. Located in the English for Special Purposes section.

  • Some useful writing materials on the Web:http://lc.ust.hk/~learn/e_write.html

Writing Reports








The Business of Writing
(Upper Intermediate to Advanced)

Located in the Grammar & Writing section under WRITING.



Writing and Presenting reports
(Upper Intermediate to Advanced)

Located in the Grammar & Writing section under WRITING.












Useful Materials in the Learning Support Centre

  • Business Reports in English (intermediate to upper intermediate). Located in the English for Special Purposes section under BUSINESS

  • IELTS Preparation and Practice : Reading and Writing - Academic Module (upper intermediate to advanced). Located in the Grammar and Writing Section under TESTS

Top

Some Useful Writing Materials on the Web
http://lc.ust.hk/~learn/e_write.html

CD roms in the Learning Support Centre

Issues in English (CD5)



Writing CVs and Cover Letters for Job Applications

Useful Materials in the Learning Support Centre

Textbooks:

  • Getting started (Beginners) 

  • A14 It's over to you stage 2 book 5 (Intermediate) - Unit 2. Located in the English section.

  • G3 Applying for a job (Beginners)

  • Writing tasks (Advanced) - Chapter 6 - Located in the Writing section.

Some Useful Writing Materials on the Web

http://lc.ust.hk/~learn/e_write.html

CD roms in the Learning Support Centre

  • CD15 English for employment CD-ROM (Intermediate to Advanced) - available at the Learning Support Centre desk.

Top

Writing Academic Essays



Books:







Academic Writing Course (Intermediate - Advanced)

General information about academic writing with examples.



The Business of Writing (Upper Intermediate to Advanced)

Useful especially for business students.



Writing Guidelines for Education Students (Advanced)

Covers essays, reports, note-taking, referencing and the writing process. 



 

 

 





 

Essay writing for English tests (Intermediate to Advanced)

A step by step guide to essay writing



Writing, Setting and Marking Essays (Advanced)

Very good on planning and structure of essays - written with university courses in mind.





Hot Tips...

Think 'audience'

  • Who is going to read your essay? 

  • Why? 

Think 'small'

  • Make your essay focused.

  • Put the main ideas in a flow chart or diagram. 

  • Edit and re-edit.

Think 'actions'

  • Start writing immediately. 

  • Edit while writing. 

  • Edit out ideas which don't fit in (no matter how good they are!).

  • Keep writing and editing.  

  • Leave time to do the introduction and conclusion.

Top

Useful materials in the LSC

Resources

  • Books with tapes

  • Study Skills in English (H3) , especially Units 5-7 (upper intermediate to advanced), located in "English for Special Purposes" section

  • Study Tasks in English (H4), especially Units 8-9 (advanced), located in "English for Special Purposes" section

  • Panorama (A21), especially examination essay writing (advanced), located in "English" section

  • Language in Use (A55-57), good general background writing skills (beginner to advanced), located in "English" section

  • IELTS practice tests (F1-10) (intermediate to advanced), located in "Skills - language" section

The WWW

  • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

  • http://library.ust.hk/serv/skills/libskill.html
    (Ten steps to a Research Paper)

Computer Assisted Language Learning Programmes

  • Read-it : general studies
    Sentence and paragraph structure.

Issues in English CD-ROM

Writing exercises.


(pre-intermediate to upper intermediate)

Top

Tips for Learning to Write Independently

Learning Tips

Break the writing down into a series of smaller steps. Use good planning and thinking.. Use these steps to write:



  • plan 

  • write 

  • re-write

  • proofread

Writing skills are linked to other language skills, especially reading. If you want to improve your writing skills, you must read widely.

In order to improve your writing, you should make writing and reading a large part of your life. You might want to try: 



  • writing diaries 

  • writing down reflections to record your learning experiences  

  • exchanging e-mails with a number of people  

  • reading magazines or newspapers regularly 

  • writing book reports 

Write a Self Access Learning Plan

  • Think about how you learn.

  • Use the learning styles that suit you.

Needs Analysis

Ask yourself:



  • What kinds of writing do I want to learn?

  • Why?

  • How much time do I have?

  • What outcome do I want?

As You Work

  • Go to the Learning Support Centre for advice on good writing strategies.

  • Use the material in the IELTS and TESTS section of the Learning Support Centre to assess your writing skills.

  • Look at examples of the kind of writing which you want to learn.

  • Look at an example of your own writing.

Include in Your Plan

Getting Started

  • The best way to get started is to make an appointment with an LEARNING SUPPORT CENTRE staff member to show them your self-access plan. They will give you helpful tips.

Taking Action

  • Recording actions: log sheets, worksheets, evidence of work, meetings with the Learning Support Centre.

  • Recording reflections: learning journals, emails/meetings with the Learning Support Centre.

  • Writing portfolio: recording work and showing progress.

  • Evidence of what you have learnt: a piece of writing, a stack of learning materials.

Reviewing Learning

At this stage, you should be:



  • evaluating your self-access plan

  • evaluating your performance and commitment

  • assessing your learning outcomes

  • thinking about possible revisions to your plan.

Evaluating Writing

  • Do a writing test, for example, using the material in the IELTS or TESTS section of the Learning Support Centre.

  • Discuss your writing/learning outcomes with a Learning Support Centre staff member.


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