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How to Teach Evidence-Based Writing in 5 Easy Steps

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Evidence-based writing is an important component in today’s writing curriculum. Students are expected to support their writing with text-based evidence and clear arguments. These writing lessons can become overwhelming and laborious for teachers and students alike. Keep confusion to a minimum by strategically scaffolding your writing lessons into bite-sized steps. Here are some strategies to help you scaffold your evidence-based writing lessons.

Strategies for text-based writing Looking for evidence for text-based writing poster

1. Identify the purpose 

Have students answer the following questions

  • What are we going to read about?
  • What are we going to learn about?
  • What are we going to write based on this article?

2. Read the article closely

  • Read aloud with the class modeling think-alouds. It is important for students to hear and understand your thinking process as you are reading.
  • Point out interesting information and underline it.
  • Re-read parts that are difficult to understand and highlight information relevant to the writing prompt.

compare and contrast graphic organizer for citing textual evidence3. Organize the information

Graphic organizers are the perfect visual tool to organize information. Explain to students that the graphic organizers guide students through the planning process of writing their paragraphs.




  • Use a visual tool on the board to demonstrate to students how the information within their paragraphs is related. The hamburger model is a popular visual to demonstrate these connections. This model demonstrates how topic sentences and details are related.
  • Read examples of well-written samples and discuss the elements that create a quality text.writing hamburger visual


Evan-Moor Sentence Starters charttypes of conclusions poster

5. Feedback

  • Resist the urge to mark every missing detail in red. Before you grade your students’ papers, decide what the key concepts of the lesson are and focus on those (especially for young writers).

Text-Based Writing Sample Lessons

Frequent practice analyzing texts and identifying evidence is the best method to improve your students’ analytical writing abilities. Evan-Moor’s Text-Based Writing: Nonfiction is a comprehensive classroom resource that gives students continual practice with citing text evidence. Each unit provides a nonfiction reading article, vocabulary and comprehension questions, graphic organizer, and writing page to guide students through their writing. Get your free sample lessons here.

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Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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One Comment

  1. I can’t wait to use these ideas after winter break !

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