Donít just focus on the negative. Provide a couple of sentences that reinforce or highlight what the student has done well in their text. This way, the student can continue to implement the things that are working for future written assignments.
†Respond as a reader and mention specific places in the text that you had difficulty with.† Make sure you are specific with both your praise and critique. †You may want to consider limiting your suggestions to only one or two aspects of the studentís writing, as more than that may overwhelm the student.†
If it is an early draft, offer up some suggestions as to what the student can improve on for the next draft. These suggestions can be anything from organization, thesis statement, or sentence-level concerns. †If it is a final draft, try to come up with comments that may be helpful for the studentís future writing assignments.
Be careful of providing comments that may appear to be taking control over the studentís ideas or organization. Instead, try to include suggestions that may help the student restructure or add to their ideas. The majority of the students will respond better to suggestions, not commands.††