ESL students’ essays are full of mistakes and hard to read. To improve their writing, we carefully plan our lessons to teach them how to write, correct their mistakes, and make them do all kinds of exercises. To our dismay, we found that their writing does not always improve much. Why? Well, there might be problems on our side. We may not be focusing on essential things that we should focus on.
Teaching them how to write is important, as is correcting the mistakes in their essays. However, one thing that is more important is that students must be given enough reading assignments. I saw some syllabi that require students to read only 50 pages one semester. That is probably not enough for any level. ESL students must be given enough, appropriate and interesting reading materials. Our experience tells us that when a student reads more, he or she will write better.