Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop.

Teaching Writing as a Process: Examine the Topic

Examine the Topic

Extend Your Knowledge

In this section, you will expand your understanding of writing instruction by comparing the ideas from the workshop video with passages from various publications. Read and respond to the ideas presented as they relate to your own teaching practices.

Teachers in grades K-2 plan writing instruction by reflecting on the purposes for writing, the forms of writing, the needs of their students, and the assistance required to develop students' writing skills. While this session focuses on the process of writing and Writers' Workshop, other forms of writing occur throughout a typical day in grades K-2 to foster writing development. Young children write each day to reflect on their own experiences, in response to literature, to construct stories, and to communicate and document ideas.

Read the following passage and guidelines that promote both process writing and informal writing.

School offers many opportunities for both formal and informal writing. In recent years, a particular approach to teach writing -- the process approach -- has been widely explored, and recent evidence (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1996) indicates that students in classrooms that include more elements of the process approach indeed become better writers than those in less process-oriented classrooms. We think this evidence is convincing, and we strongly endorse the process approach as a method of teaching writing. However, a good deal of the writing students do in relation to their reading is less planned, less lengthy, less polished, and less formal than that for which the process approach is appropriate. As Gail Tompkins (1996) has pointed out, effective reading teachers give students plenty of opportunities to do both process writing and informal writing.

Graves, M. F., C. Juel, and B. B. Graves, Teaching Reading in the Twenty-First Century, 414. Boston, Mass.: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.

Guidelines for Creating a Positive Writing Environment

  • Establish a predictable writing time.
  • Provide opportunities to write throughout the day in all the subject areas for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • Create a writing center equipped with writing necessities -- writing materials, dictionaries, a thesaurus, and books on the writer's craft.
  • Stock the classroom library with texts in a variety of genres -- magazines, picture books, biographies, informational books, novels, beginning chapter books -- that reflect a wide range of interests and readability levels.
  • Read aloud quality literature -- fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Guide students to write about topics that are important to them -- writing that has a genuine purpose and a real audience.
  • Model writing forms and techniques.
  • Provide direct instruction on matters of mechanics -- grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation -- and the writer's craft -- dialogue, characterization, voice, engaging beginnings, and so on -- as the need arises.
  • Provide students with guidance and constructive feedback.
  • Become a writer yourself, and share with your students your writing and the struggles you experience in writing.
  • Provide opportunities for students to share their writing with their peers and receive construction feedback from them.
  • Consider background knowledge (general store of information on a topic), prior experiences with writing, and models of literacy students have been exposed to at home.

Adapted from Graves, M. F., C. Juel, and B. B. Graves, Teaching Reading in the Twenty-First Century, 413-414. Boston, Mass.: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.

Passage and guidelines above are from Graves, M. F., C. Juel, and B. B. Graves, Teaching Reading in the Twenty-First Century.Published by Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA. Copyright © 2001 by Pearson Education. Adapted by permission of the publisher.

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