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6 Tips to Writing a High-Scoring Extended Response

By: Jess Mazzone

Writing an Extended Response can feel overwhelming for kids to write and us to teach! If you’re looking for some quick tips to make it more approachable, you’re in the right spot. Below are 6 strategies to help you and your writers crush the Extended Response.

1. Use the prompt as an outline.

One of the hardest parts about writing can be knowing where to start. Teach writers that they don’t need to figure it out on their own! Instead, they can use the writing prompt as an outline for their response. Encourage students to use each part of the question to structure their response, and to go in that order.

2. Write a clear introduction.

Use the introduction as an opportunity to outline the rest of the Extended Response. Teach writers to name the text, state their claim, and answer the question in 1-2 sentences. 

3. Answer all parts of the question.

When studying released responses, often something that prevents students from getting full credit on extended response writing is that they forget to answer all parts of the question. Teach writers to go back and check off each part of the question after they’ve written their response to make sure they’ve fully answered each part. 

4. Rely on your essay work.

No need to go into extended response writing cold! Support writers in transferring all that they know from essay writing by doing inquiry work. You might place an essay and extended response side by side asking, “What makes these two genres of writing similar? What makes them different?” In addition, pull charts from your essay writing units into test prep.

5. Explain and unpack evidence.

Help writers demonstrate their reading comprehension by teaching them to include transitional sentences that set up and unpack their text evidence. Before quoting or summarizing, get writers to explicitly tell readers why their evidence is important. 

6. Extend your thinking in the conclusion.

To raise the level of extended response writing, teach students to extend their thinking at the end of their work. Making connections to themselves, the world, other texts, and real life demonstrates a deeper understanding of the text. 

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