Clear writing is clear thinking. Whether your child is writing a persuasive essay defending civil rights or a literary analysis unpacking character development, your student can hone his/her craft by studying model texts and critically revising their own writing. Your child can also become a stronger writer by following these steps!

Step 1: Prewriting
When brainstorming, turn to model texts—high-quality texts in the same genre as your essay—for guidance, and discuss the elements of craft that make the model text a success. Draw idea maps and plan outlines to identify the overarching ideas of their essay.

Step 2: Drafting
For the first draft, flesh out your outlines into full-sized introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs. Support your ideas with evidence and quotations in each body paragraph, and raise and address counterarguments to make your thesis more convincing.

Step 3: Revising
Return to your drafts with fresh eyes—and teacher feedback—to consider what is and is not working. Are your ideas clearly stated and supported? Do you use unique, interesting language or do you have repetitive phrases that need fixing? Through intensive feedback, JEI Livingston teachers teach students to hear clunky phrasing, recognize unclear ideas, and fix ambiguities.

Step 4: Editing
It’s time to catch the small typos—students proofread for grammatical and spelling mistakes and polish your sentences.

Step 5: Publishing
You’ve reached the finish line! The final draft is ready for the world.

Through careful study of the English language, literature, and their own work, you can methodically improve your own voice.

JEI Livingston Summer Camp teaches students to articulate, express, and refine their ideas in daily Reading & Writing classes. JEI Livingston Reading & Writing program has helped hundreds of students become better thinkers and writers. To learn more about our writing curriculum, and to sign up for our writing-based summer camp, visit

This article is contributed by Julia Guo, Ph.D
JEI Livingston Learning Center
97A South Livingston Ave, Livingston, NJ 07039
855-JEI-Tutor • email