Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Poster Tammi Booth: The Reading Writing Connection

   Hello! I am honored to be a guest at All Things Upper Elementary. I hope that you will find my post helpful.

   Reading makes you a better writer. Writing makes you a better reader. This seems simple enough. However, when it comes to time constraints, writing usually ends up on the short end of the stick. Experience has shown me the important role writing can play in the development of a reader. I'm going to share some simple truths that I've found when it comes to writing and how I incorporate these into my classroom.

 1. Lay the Foundation: Teach and reinforce daily the basic mechanics and format of writing. Every writing piece contains certain elements such as BME (beginning, middle, end), words that make the author's meaning clear, and of course spelling, punctuation, capitals, etc. I try hard to lay this foundation from day one in my classroom. It takes practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature. Journal writing is good place to start with this.

 2. Allow time for Creative Writing: My children build upon the foundation through creative writing. Seasonal story starters are some of my student's favorites. Their writing pieces have a place in our classroom and are available as reading material for free time reading or reading workshop. Children need time to be creative and have fun with writing.

3.  Learn the Process:  My children create a formal graded writing piece each quarter. They learn the writing process and how to evaluate their own writing. I walk them through the each step of the process(Pre-writing, drafting, editing/revision, and publishing) at the beginning of the year and gradually allow them to take over. Of course, it's necessary to differentiate according to needs. I may have a small group that requires more guidance through the process while I let the others go. It is so important for them to have an evaluation tool during the process, whether it is a checklist or rubric. 

4. Use Writing to Reinforce Reading: I can't stress enough how important writing can be to connect what you're teaching in reading.  For instance, I follow up my Fables, Folktales, and Myths Unit with a writing piece that requires the elements of a folktale. My students created a tall tale about the founder of our city. This activity integrated our Social Studies standards as well. 
Poetry-I introduce a type of poem, read examples, and then the children write their own. I repeat this process with each type of poem.

Vocabulary-An activity that my children enjoy is creating comic strips with vocabulary words. I differentiate the activity based on the reading level of the children. The example below contains three words from a high level reading story. The children use the words in context while creating a basic plot of a short story. I have also used this activity to implement use of dialogue. 

You can download a copy of my comic strip template from my Reading Strategies Bundle by clicking on the picture.

 Other-use transition words in writing after a lesson on sequence, create an information book requiring the students use nonfiction text features-word bank, glossary, subheadings, pictures with captions, etc.

Writing can be the cement needed to secure the understanding of reading concepts and skills. It is worth the time to make the Reading/Writing Connection.



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