The Clueless Student is one who has yet to begin the writing assignment and has no idea where to start. “I don’t have anything to say about this topic!” the Clueless Student will say exasperatedly. Thus begins the job of helping with pre-writing, or generating and developing ideas. 

The purpose of pre-writing is to help students flush out ideas below the surface; ideas that they may not be aware are lurking beyond what’s easily observable. Provocation is usually in order at such times. You, the tutor, can rely on several different writing techniques to help students generate ideas. Pre-writing not only helps students to come up with the raw material of writing, the ideas from which their writing will take shape, but prewriting also helps students to gain more self-confidence about their ability to think and to write. Just as the sculptor needs a medium from which to sculpt, just as a painter requires paints and canvas to paint, so, too, does the writer need to generate ideas before these ideas can be organized and developed into an effective piece of writing.

Support Handouts:

Prewriting Tools and Strategies