Note to the Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Creative Writing for English as Second Langauge Learners is designed to introduce your English as a Second Language (ESL) students to the unique features of creative writing that will improve students' mastery of using the English language, motivate students to become writers, and prepare students to read creative genres more confidently and analytically. 

Why creative writing?

There are many materials available for the teaching of writing for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, yet due to the focus of many ESL programs on essay writing skills needed for testing and college classes, many of these materials focus on academic essay writing. There are however benefits for college-bound ESL learners to learn other genres of writing, such as creative writing. As literary analysis is a cornerstone of many college English classes1, having background knowledge of the conventions and features of creative writing may assist students in their future college courses when analyzing literature. Additionally, ESL students studying creative writing may begin to learn the nuance, such as the nuance mentioned in the ACTFL guidelines2, required to artistically break the rules of grammar and other academic writing conventions in order to communicate their ideas. They gain a wider range of syntactic tools to express themselves. Furthermore, by studying both classic and contemporary literature as part of genre exploration, students can deepen their L2 cultural knowledge and, through their own creation of literature in their L2, can contribute to that culture. Creative Writing for ESL Learners seeks to provide advanced ESL learners with the opportunity to access these benefits. 

How does this book teach creative writing?

This textbook is designed to primarily teach writing but is also integrated with reading, listening, and speaking to provide students with a well-rounded approach to learning creative writing. Students have opportunities to practice both receptive and productive skills that address literary devices, genre-specific concepts, genre conventions, and relevant grammar across multiple genres of creative writing.

This textbook uses the genre approach to writing but also combines it with the writing process approach. The writing process is directly and simply taught in the introduction of this textbook and its ideas are repeated throughout the book. The idea of transferability of skills is also presented to the students so that students are aware of how they can use the skills learned for creative writing in other areas of writing and learning. The writing process, strategies related to it, and the transferability of skills are highlighted for students in metacognitive reflection throughout the book and specifically at the end of the unit assessment pages. 

Teachers may choose from the many resources and exercises provided to suit the needs of their personal classrooms. All or parts of the textbook may be used depending on the needs of the class. The book is designed to be most effective when done in order (Unit 1, then Unit 2, etc.), but units and sections may be done out of order or combined as needed. Unit 1 contains some definitions such as the definition for the term "literary device" that may be useful for learning in other units.

The objectives listed at the beginning of each unit are included to varying degrees throughout the different sections of the units to provide spiral learning with repetition of skill practice. Because English language learning is skill's based, there is a relatively high amount of practice exercises and activities provided compared to directly instructive explanations of concepts as students will learn to produce creative writing mostly through practicing production. This can be seen throughout the sections of the units. 

The sections of each unit are as follows:

  1. a reading section with pre-, during, and post-activities to provide meaningful written input in the given genre. This section also includes explicit instruction on specific techniques and tools that authors use in writing and opportunities for some implicit learning through exercise questions.
  2. a listening section with pre-, during, and post-activities to provide meaningful spoken input in the given genre.
  3. a genre-specific concept section with genre-specific terms to provide students with the vocabulary to discuss creative literature and define the language skills they utilize in producing their own creative writing. 
  4. a grammar section for students to learn how to use syntax and other grammar-related ideas strategically as a writer. While the grammar section may teach specific rules, as with the ideas of the genre types section below, it is up to the student to decide how best to apply or bend those rules to enhance their creative writing. This section is also intentionally placed later in the sequence of sections so that students do not overly focus on mechanical writing conventions, but first focus on learning and applying literary devices. 
  5. a section about the types of writing within a genre. "Types of (Genre)" is specifically named to be inclusive to both poetic and dramatic forms while also being open enough to include the less formulaic genres of short stories and speeches. This section includes direct instruction to provide students a base to build upon, but should not limit students to strictly following the forms or conventions. As mentioned throughout the book, students will need to decide how to use the literary tools and writing conventions they are taught to suit their communicative needs in expressing an idea.
  6.  a writing practice section to provide mostly word and sentence level practice focused on literary devices and using various steps of the writing process. This section also includes direct instruction that builds on the ideas learned in previous sections.
  7. a speaking practice section to provide students with multiple means through which to deepen their learning of the objectives of the unit and the genre in general. Speaking output will also help students improve their ability and confidence to speak overall which will contribute to more effective prewriting and peer review activities when speaking contributes to writing. 
  8. a  section with more writing practice to provide more independent practice with lengthier production using genre-specific concepts and some of the ideas from other sections. This section may also include self-review exercises, peer-review exercises, and metacognitive reflection exercises. Exercises include various levels of scaffolding through the level of detail and guidance provided in the instruction to give teachers options to meet the needs of their specific students. Exercises in this section are also frequently multipart (e.g. Part A, Part B, etc.) exercises; teachers may choose to do all parts or some parts of these exercises as determined by the needs of the class and time constraints.  
  9. a unit assessment section to assess the constructs taught in each section using questions from multiple levels of Bloom's Taxonomy to address the learning levels of different types of students. The assessment section addresses writing-related objectives such as literary devices, genre concepts, grammar, and creative writing production to determine students' mastery of writing skills in action.
  10. an extend your learning section to provide further ideas for projects and activities to do individually, in groups, or as a class. This section also includes options for self-exploration that students may choose to pursue on their own. 
Through the use of this textbook to study creative writing, students will gain an understanding of creative writing as not only readers, but also as authors of poetry, plays, short stories, and speeches. They will be able to produce both non-fiction and fiction texts to be read silently or shared aloud. They will be able to communicate their ideas through writing creatively. 
Students will not only be able to deepen their knowledge of creative writing and improve their English skills but will be able to express themselves and find their own voice in writing. They will learn writing concepts that they can then adapt to their unique style. Thank you for choosing to use this creative writing textbook.  

1. Literature analysis: Writing center. Pacific Lutheran University. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27,  2023, from,conveys%20some %20kind%20of%20message.
2. American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). (2012). Writing.  Retrieved October 3, 2022, from guidelines-2012/english/writing#superior . 

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