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Verbal expression strategies are strategies for putting ideas into words. Insofar as verbal expression happens without a hitch, this process may be entirely unconscious and automatic, but verbal expression strategies provide the writer with conscious strategies for overcoming difficulties in expression. This may involve such methods as taking notes about what one intends to say (to make it easier to find the exact wording by removing the load of identifying the key content), using a thesaurus to assist word choice, or freewriting to get ideas down quickly (fixing problems only in a second stage after a first version has been drafted). The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 31.

Verbal expression strategies support the writer in achieving clarity and coherence as expressed in Writing Standard 4 from the Common Core State Standards, though the standard as a whole is framed at the discourse level.

Literature Note - Verbal Expression

Development Table 31. Hypothesized Development of Verbal Expression Skills

(oral to sentence)
In a shared context, can interpret the contextually-bound elements in responses produced by peers.
Can deploy prompting strategies in which a peer or adult partner helps identify unclear elements that can then be clarified and elaborated to make them clearer and less context-dependent.
Can produce short, contextually-bound responses that are meaningful in the context of their production but which could not stand alone as independent documents.
(sentence to paragraph)
Can identify locations in a text where the meaning is not clear in the absence of supporting context.
Can independently deploy rephrasing strategies to repair elliptical or contextually bound statements, putting them in complete sentence form and making all references explicit and self-explanatory.
Can produce short responses of approximately one to three sentences in length that are grammatically complete and semantically self-contained (and thus self-explanatory to an outside observer without specific knowledge of the context in which they were created).
(paragraph to text)
Can identify points of incoherence in a text—places where one sentence does not seem to follow logically from the next.
Can deploy peer response strategies that use a peer to identify specific problems in textual coherence and rework sentences to repair them.
Can produce paragraph-length responses developing a single idea while maintaining clarity of reference and logical progression from one idea to the next, with sentence forms varied as needed to maintain appropriate focus, coherence, and emphasis.
(text to context)
Can identify points of irrelevance in a text—places where the overall organization of the text is not clear or logical, such as tangents and digressions.
Can deploy peer response strategies to identify issues of relevance and logical progression and repair them by inserting transitional words and other cues to text structure.
Can develop subtopics in a larger text while maintaining local clarity and coherence and making use of a variety of grammatical resources to signal transitions and connections among ideas and enable the audience to reconstruct a coherent mental model of textual content .
(text and context to discourse)
Can identify points of incongruity in a text—places where the stance or implied viewpoint shifts unexpectedly.
Can deploy peer response strategies to identify incongruous stances or shifts in perspective and repair such problems by inserting or modifying stance and perspective-taking elements as needed.
Can produce complex multiple-paragraph responses that take audience knowledge and interest into account and make full and effective use of the grammatical resources available to represent multiple perspectives and communicate the author’s stance.

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