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Planning strategies are strategies that support the creation of specific types of documents with specific discourse structures. These strategies include formal methods such as the use of outlines as document plans instead of merely as document descriptions; use of informal, iterative methods in which loosely structured documents are gradually hammered into shape; and the use of templates in which slots are left to be filled by specific types of information, among others. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 25.

This class of strategies, and the skills that develop to support them, underlie the planning portions of Writing Standard 5 from the Common Core State Standards.

Literature Note - Planning

Development Table 25. Hypothesized Development of Planning Skills

(oral to sentence)
Can tell whether information helps to answer a question.
Can develop a simple text plan by choosing a focus (a specific purpose or question to be addressed) and using it as a cue to retrieve information from memory.
Can fluently respond to specific questions from adults or peers with appropriate and relevant statements.
(sentence to paragraph)
Given a focus, can identify more- and less- relevant sections from a longer text.
Can apply generate-and-select (free-writing) strategies in which one imposes a focus after generating more content than is required.
Can use text they have produced as stimulus to fluently generate additional content that elaborates on an idea in focus
(paragraph to text)
Given a purpose and focus, can rank and subordinate segments of a text by their relative importance to that purpose and focus.
Can apply strategies in which they generate and choose between alternative, hierarchically-structured plans or outlines, selecting and developing relevant ideas. Can support this skill by applying outlining or summary strategies to reduce memory load. Can apply peer review and other feedback strategies to identify an effective plan.
Can fluently traverse the points in an outline or mental plan (in the first instance, a simple text template), shifting focus to generate content relevant to each point in turn.
(text to context)
Can infer the purpose and focus of particular parts of a text by considering how they cohere within the overall structure of the text.
Can apply strategies in which a document plan is built up by setting rhetorical goals and subgoals, so that each text segment in the final document carries out a rhetorical move crafted to achieve a specific purpose, given the audience,
Can fluently handle complex text-generation tasks that require maintaining focus across a hierarchy of goals and subgoals.
(text and context to discourse)
Can identify when a text fails to include genre- or task-critical elements.
Can apply recursive strategies that depend upon formulating explicit metalinguistic (rhetorical) descriptions of writing goals and problems and evaluating whether specific modifications will have the desired effect.
Can fluently handle text-generation tasks across a variety of tasks that require document plans to adhere to genre-specific organizational and stylistic conventions.

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