When students and I discuss writing, I sometimes pose this
question: What should be the main considerations while writing? Many
students quickly answer that they need to pay particular attention to good
grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, sentence and paragraph
structure, and the need to stay on topic. Our higher level students will
often add the need to compose a well organized essay. The most important
writing consideration however, a consideration not often mentioned, is the
reading audience Ė for whom the writing is done.
The intended reader of your writing could be a teacher, a
friend, a politician, a specialist on the topic, a family member, a peer, or
even just you. The point is, we always write for an audience. Someone will
be reading our writing and reflecting upon it. Through the writing, the
writer communicates his or her thoughts, ideas, and concepts to the
For this communication to be effective the writer must
identify who the writing is for, even prior to writing the first draft.
Identifying the reading audience includes finding their priorities, their
prior knowledge about the topic, their level of vocabulary and language, and
what they expect to learn about the writing topic.
Consideration of the target reading audience is crucial.
To effectively convey the written material, the writer needs to engage the
reader. The reader should feel connected to the written content by gaining a
sense that the content is relevant and important. The writer engages the
reader through adapting the writing to capture the readerís interest and
The following are some writing strategies to promote the
- include only material that is both on topic, as well
as useful to the target audience.
- express clearly your thoughts and ideas.
- use a variety of transitions to make the necessary connections between
thoughts, ideas, sentences, and paragraphs.
- use a variety of sentence types and structures.
- choose the level of vocabulary and language that your reader can follow
- begin your writing with a strong introduction to engage the reader early
- add examples that readers can identify with.
- place people and action in your writing, making use of action verbs.
- the overall writing style should be straightforward, readable, and easy to
- create a good summary or conclusion at the end of your writing to indicate
what the reader should reflect on, or do, as a result of reading your
In our Learning Centre, your instructors are the audience
of most of your assigned writing. They read and grade your work.
Occasionally, an instructor will assign for you to write to an imaginary
audience such as a politician, or a specialist on the writing topic. This is
to give you practice in applying different writing strategies.
If a writing assignment doesnít specify an audience, it is
useful to imagine your classmates, or peers, reading your writing rather
than the instructor. Both the topic and your instructor can be addressed
better when you consider the instructor to be intelligent, yet hardly
informed on the topic.
In summary, the intended reading audience is the most
important consideration in any writing. Through adapting the writing style,
support, tone, and vocabulary, the writer can engage the reader to the
written content. Connecting the reader to the reading promotes effective
communication of the written material, and enhances the writerís writing
Try a Fill-in-the-Blank
Quiz based on this reading.
Worksheet in Word Format to help identify the reading audience and the
purpose of writing.
Worksheet in HTML Format
For further details and reference,
check these sites:
Writing: Audience Analysis
Choosing and Writing for an Audience
(The University of North Carolina)
Overview of Technical Writing
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