Outcome: Prewriting

Identify Prewriting Activities

This section will break the concept of “Prewrite” down into components, in order to show you how to take full advantage of this stage of the writing process.

Paper with a typed paragraph on it. Handwritten in pink pen under this is a numerical phrase outline

Many students — and some teachers — want to skip the pre-writing stage of the writing process because they see it as unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming. However, teachers who dismiss the pre-writing stage as being completely unnecessary are performing a disservice to many of their students. Pre-writing is an essential part of the entire writing process because it enables you to begin documenting the process by which the eventual essay will be formed and evaluated.

The term “pre-writing” may be a bit misleading because writing can and often does occur at this critical stage. For example, written notes and outlines, including graphic organizers, can serve as a record of one’s ideas and the sources of those ideas. A preliminary thesis or hypothesis could inform the process and the product.

Many people do brainstorm via their thoughts without recording those ideas and sources in permanent form prior to the next steps in the writing process. Most developing writers, however, need to record their pre-writing ideas in permanent form so that those ideas can clearly inform and guide the thinking and writing process, resulting in a coherent, well-organized product or text.

Graphic titled Prewrite. Bullet list: Free writing, listing, clustering, questioning, dialoguing. All text in a purple circle bordered by gray arrows.What You Will Learn to Do

  • identify purpose and defining characteristics of prewriting
  • identify various prewriting strategies, including freewriting, listing, questioning, clustering, and dialoguing
  • identify rhetorical context for the writing task
  • identify working thesis statement

The Learning Activities for this Outcome Include

  • Text: Prewriting Strategies
  • Presentation: Rhetorical Context For Yourself as a Writer
  • Text: The Working Thesis Statement
  • Self Check: Prewriting
  • Try It: Prewriting