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Think Aloud To Write Well

By Sue Gench


Good writers are capable of expressing themselves. They express their thoughts with clarity and coherence. Now you may think if you are having difficulty in writing, "Good writers have an inborn talent and that's why they write well, but I don't have that talent so I don't write well." Well, having a talent for writing is different than the ability to write well. Here, I am not talking about writing fiction or poetry, but the ability to "write well", to write a good email message, letter, essay, report, or a research paper which doesn't require a talent but a skill every body can learn. For that matter, first you learn the rules and then put the rules into practice. In this article, I will discuss two processes essential for good writing:

1) If you have a writing assignment, ask yourself, "Do I understand the question of this assignment?" If you do, then the question is "Do I have sufficient information on this topic?" If you don't, stop there. Gather sufficient information on the topic. Then go to the second step below.

2) Think aloud then write down your thoughts.

First, it is essential that you have sufficient information on a topic you intend to write. If you are a cook and are asked to write a recipe for French souffle, you must first know how to make it, then you can write a recipe for it. If you are upset about your boss's unfair treatment to you, you must know what exactly made you upset about it, and if you do, then you can write about it.

Second, all you need is let your brain take care of your thinking. For that, observe the following process for think-aloud:

1) Relax.

2) Read aloud the topic question.

3) Think aloud. Think aloud means this: say aloud what comes onto your mind. Do not try to think hard but rather attend your thoughts. Think aloud and, at the same time, write down the ideas streaming onto your mind. Don't worry about messy sentences or grammar mistakes, or inappropriate vocabulary. You will take care of all that later on.

6) Read aloud what you have written down. All the ideas that have flowed onto your mind are your stream of thoughts.

You evoked your stream of thoughts that flowed onto your mind because you were relaxed and let your brain think. Because of that, ideas streamed into your conscience. You then verbalized your stream of thoughts and wrote them down, attending your thoughts with ease. If you think-aloud when writing, it will just feel natural to you as if you are transporting your thoughts from your brain on to paper with no effort. Words, phrases and sentences will flood on to the paper out of your brain, so to speak.

Writing becomes easy when thinking aloud because thinking and speaking are two natural processes for the human brain than writing. We learn to speak immediately after we are born but learn to write much later in life, and through training. That is why using these two natural abilities of thinking and speaking helps to stimulate the brain to think fast--ideas flow into the brain in in a stream of thoughts abundantly--during writing. While thinking aloud, by writing down your stream of thoughts you will record all your thoughts on paper so that you can go back and revise them in creating your final piece.





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