Why You Need to be Teaching the R.A.C.E Writing Strategy

Using the R.A.C.E. Writing strategy has been a game changer in my classroom. With a million different writing strategies out there, sometimes it feels extremely intimidating for us as teachers to figure out which one is best to introduce to our students. Because I teach writing all day as a departmentalized teacher, it’s a little easier for me to play around with different strategies that work for different genres. Not only is R.A.C.E one that I find to connect best with students, but it is also one of the most useful, and cross curricular friendly.

What is The R.A.C.E. Writing Strategy?

If you aren’t familiar with the R.A.C.E Writing Strategy it’s simply an acronym that stands for four important words/phrases; Restate the question, Answer the question, Cite evidence, and Explain your answer. Basically it’s a four part system that helps your students break down a response to text.

This R.A.C.E writing strategy worksheet shows the definition of the acronym as well as an example for each letter.

When Do I Implement the Strategy?

The R.A.C.E strategy can be used in so many different ways, but I feel it’s often best used in a response to a piece of text such as nonfiction, or to answer questions based on any reading passage. Often students have trouble knowing where to begin, how much information to add, or how to effectively cite evidence. Using this strategy as a jumping point to a response to text is a great way to organize these ideas in a concrete way.

This R.A.C.E strategy worksheet shows an example of color coding by citing evidence as well as an example of the R.A.C.E writing strategy.

How Do I Implement the R.A.C.E Writing Strategy Effectively?

There are so many ways you can start students off with the R.A.C.E. strategy. With my class this year I decided to take it quite slow. I modeled many examples together, then I gradually released one letter at a time. In other years, I may have been able to move along a little faster, but you need to know your students and their strengths and weaknesses. As students get familiar with restating the question, they can then move to answering and finally citing evidence.

I have created a resource in which I use nonfiction passages about a variety of topics. First, I have students highlight important pieces of the text using a color coding key. They then must use the short passage to answer the question provided using R.A.C.E. This resource has been a lifesaver in  helping guide them with this strategy. Click here to take a peak!

This R.A.C.E strategy worksheet shows an example of color coding by citing evidence.

Why I Love this Strategy

In terms of response to text, the  R.A.C.E Writing Strategy has been the most effective in getting students to understand how to include all the important pieces of an effective and strong writing sample. You can say things like, “Do you have your ‘R” in this piece? Once they become familiar with the acronym it will stick in their mind as they continue to write responses later in the year. As students progress, you can add to the strategy as well. My colleagues and I have slowly integrated having students cite multiple pieces of evidence for longer responses. Once students become comfortable, the options are endless! I have noticed major improvements using this strategy in writing. Our ELA teacher uses this strategy for response to text in her novel questions, and our science teacher using this for science responses. When used cross curricular, students retain the strategy even more!

Hope you are able to implement this with ease in your classroom! Happy teaching!

 

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