In a time of high-stakes testing, many schools are searching for instructional methods that will allow students to meet academic writing demands and prepare them for college and career success beyond grade 12.

Expository writing is a life skill that students need to develop if they are to be college and career ready. We developed EmPOWER for exactly that purpose.

The EmPOWER method teaches the multi-faceted process of writing explicitly within six steps that build on one another:

dissect the assignment to determine what to do
make a
plan how to approach the task and choose strategies
draw and organize the relationships between ideas
structure ideas and express them in writing
identify what needs to change
decide how to change it

Using EmPOWER, students answer a series of questions and “talk themselves through” each stage of the writing process.

An EmPOWER-structured classroom dialogue prompts students to make conscious choices about their writing and reminds them to use specific strategies to manage its many components. With EmPOWER guiding classroom writing instruction, students learn to ask themselves 10 key questions every time they sit to write. Each of these prompts them to use a strategy or make their own decision about what to do next.

With EmPOWER, students use the same approach and same set of strategies in every grade and in every subject area.  

Over time, students internalize the EmPOWER steps and strategies and use them flexibly across content areas. They learn to independently break down their assignments into do-able steps, set thoughtful goals, use effective strategies to plan and organize their ideas, develop well-structured text based on those plans, and assess and refine their decisions as they work through the writing process. The organization frameworks of EmPOWER can be used in any content area — from science to social studies to language arts and even art history and health.

With EmPOWER, students are able to self-regulate their own writing process.

EmPOWER is neither a “program” nor a “pre-packaged curriculum.” It’s a method for demystifying a complex process, one that is infused with strategies for HOW to write, not WHAT to write. What students write about is up to their teachers, and those assignments are based on curriculum standards in each content area. EmPOWER lays on top of existing curriculum as a writing process guide. As such, teachers integrate it into their curriculum — blending it with other complementary instructional approaches — for the purpose of meeting their own unique writing instruction goals.

With EmPOWER, teachers can take their students where they want them to go as writers, critical thinkers, and life-long learners.

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