Written Expression

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Written Expression

Strategy: STOP & LIST – Written Expression

Appropriate Grade Level: 4th12th grade

The acronym STOP & LIST helps students to write better stories. Students write a story using this acronym.
Day 1 – Instructor introduces the STOP & LIST acronym. Then the instructor models how to use the strategy.

Think Of Purposes – Identifying the purposes of the activity and set appropriate goals.
And List Ideas – Brainstorming ideas.
Sequence Them – Organizing those ideas.
Day 2 – Students recall and rehearse the acronym STOP & LIST. The instructor models two stories. Instructor identifies similarities and differences in how the strategies were used.

Day 3 – Students recall and rehearse the acronym. Instructor and students write a story. After completing the story they evaluate their story. Students apply strategy to a writing assignment.

Day 4 – Review students’ writing assignment. Then, students recall and rehearse STOP & LIST until they can say it with 100% accuracy. Evaluate students’ writing, and explaining how advance planning strategies improved their performance. Students apply strategy to a writing assignment.

Comments and/or tips:

  • STOP & LIST is an advance planning strategy.

  • Before you teach this acronym, students should be able to identify key elements of stories or persuasive essays. The teacher should introduce the five primary elements of a well-developed narrative by using the acronym SPACE (Setting, Problems, Actions, Consequence, Emotions). Students should be introduced to the four primary elements of an opinion essay by using the acronym DARE (Develop a position statement, Add supporting arguments, Report and refute counterarguments, End with a strong conclusion).

  • Print the acronym STOP & LIST on a chart.

  • Model how to use the strategies.

  • When modeling story writing, generate as many ideas as possible.


Troia, G. A. & Graham, S. (2002). The effectiveness of a highly explicit, teacher-directed strategy instruction routine: Changing the writing performance of students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(4), 290-305.

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