WIC Survival Guide Chapter 1: Writing to Learn

WIC Courses Use Informal Writing as a Tool to Learn Course Content

In the process of writing an assignment, jotting down notes, brainstorming on a paper topic, or doing any other informal writing, have you ever:

  • Figured out the solution to a problem you were struggling with?
  • Called to mind a fact you'd forgotten?
  • Discovered a new connection between events or ideas?
  • Made sense of a concept that had confused you?
  • Come up with a new question you needed to answer?

In all of these cases, you were using writing as a thinking and learning tool. In your WIC course, you'll do a good deal of writing-to-learn, both as a way of working with your course material and in order to practice new techniques for thinking and learning in your field.



You can use writing to learn on your own to generate ideas for writing assignments and to enhance your learning.

  • Try reading the assignment sheet and then free writing for ten minutes to see what ideas you generate.
  • Try keeping a journal of writing ideas.
  • Try writing everything you know about your topic on a 3 x 5 index card.
  • After reading an article or chapter, write one question you have about each section. Then try to find the answer.
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