Cutting the Fluff During Essay Writing

Cutting the Fluff by crdotx - Writing with Design

Probably every ELA teacher in the world has experienced this one once or twice... you collect a class' set of essays only to discover multiple students filled their essays with... fluff. In many cases, the students may have intended well, but simply fell back on a strategy that made sense to them. After all, if you just need those few more lines to finish that last page of writing... adding some fluff is the perfect way to close the gap!

Or is it? Obviously, as writing teachers and coaches, we know there's a better way. Still, sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint for a student exactly how they can make the switch from fluff to higher quality writing. But have no fear! The Writing with Design team is here to offer you some practical tips and advice.

  • First, let them know that cutting fluff will make their ideas shine even more.
  • Explain or model ideal sentence length, where every sentence is the right length to express a singular idea.
  • Let them know they can skip fluff words like "very," "just," "actually," and "basically" that don't add to the meaning of a sentence.
  • Hone in on sentences that are descriptive, precise, and concise. Be sure to draw examples from their own writing.
  • Ask them to skip redundant sentences that aren't being used to remind the reader of a previous point.

What about you, what are your best tips for eliminating fluff in student writing?