Breaking Down a Writing Prompt

by Jessica Ruppert | 26 Dec 2016
Resource Description: This lesson teaches ELLs how to effectively break down a summary writing prompt, thus showing them exactly what it is they are to write about and how to extract the correct information from a source for writing.
Audience: University
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Duration: 2, 50- minute class periods
Language Skill: Writing
Content Area: English for academic purposes
Materials and Technology:


Article from the Guardian: Losing the Faith by Thom Yorke




Objective(s): Understanding and analyzing a summary writing prompt
Outcome(s): Students will be able to effective analyze and understand a summary writing prompt and will consequently have the ability to extract information from a source to begin the writing process
Procedure: Begin with demonstrating writing prompt via power point, and showing accompanying worksheet and video on how to analyze and break down a prompt.  Have students break down provided prompt after guiding them through the worksheet and watch the video.  Guide the students through breaking down the prompt as a class activity.  
Assessment: Assessment of the prompt analysis can be made by having the students submit their analyzed/broken down prompt and checking for correctness of the completion of the steps in the process.  
Differentiation: Subsequent activities to follow up in class session are provided in the powerpoint supplement, such as lists of verbs commonly used prompts, analysis of rubrics, and five steps to confident reading.  

 L. (2013). Analyzing a problem and solution prompt. Retrieved December 24, 2016, from

Tools and materials for reading, speaking, and writing about texts. (n.d.). Retrieved December 24, 2016, from

Yorke, T. (2003). Opinion: Thom Yorke on fair trade. Retrieved December 24, 2016, from

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