Regular and predictable timetabling of the writing workshop is recommended so that students can anticipate, prepare and plan for their writing (Calkins, 1994).
An important component of the Writing Workshop approach is the Writer’s Notebook which ‘creates a place for students (and writers) to save their words—in the form of a memory, a reflection, a list, a rambling of thoughts, a sketch, or even a scrap of print taped on the page’ (Buckner, 2005, p.4).
Purpose During secondary schooling, students need to continue to be taught how to be strategic readers who can read successfully for a variety of authentic purposes. The purpose of adopting a whole-school approach to the teaching of reading at Eaglehawk Secondary College is to develop a shared metalanguage for talking about reading to learn and a shared understanding of the elements of reading. This will assist in providing all students with opportunities to read fluently and to comprehend a variety of texts confidently for a range of purposes.
Background There are 5 interrelated elements to the teaching of reading which must be understood to ensure students comprehend increasingly complex texts. They are:
Active Comprehension Strategies
A Broad and Deep Vocabulary
Knowledge of the World
Knowledge of Texts and Textual Features
Secondary students do most of their reading to learn, in a variety and range of contexts, within a teaching and learning cycle. Therefore, various teachingstrategies associated with the 5 aspects of reading will be aligned with the Effective Reading in Content Areas (ERICA) model and the Teaching and Learning Cycle (TLC) to clearly demonstrate where they fit within a unit of work and can be effectively used.
Implications for the Teaching of Reading Every teacher at Eaglehawk Secondary College needs to teach much of their content through reading. Therefore, teachers need to model effective reading practices in the content and within the context of their learning areas. Reading strategies, and suggested explicit pedagogy for the teaching of reading and a guide regarding how to approach reading to learn, will be provided on this webpage for your use in your learning area.
Photographs and works of art can serve as writing prompts. Consider this photo of people crossing flood waters after a torrential rain in Manila, Philippines (August 2012). Does the image spark any ideas that you think might be developed in a narrative or descriptive essay?.Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Purpose Improving students’ writing skills helps them succeed inside and outside the classroom. Effective writing is a vital component of students’ literacy achievement, and writing is a critical communication tool for students to convey thoughts and opinions, describe ideas and events, and analyse information.
Indeed, writing is a life-long skill that plays a key role in postsecondary success across academic and vocational disciplines.
The nature of writing and writing instruction is changing. Technology, such as word processing and other forms of electronic communication, plays an increasingly important role in how students learn and practice writing in and out of the classroom.
Overarching themes Three recommendations are presented on this page to highlight, two important themes for delivering effective writing instruction.
1. Writing encourages critical thinking. Constructing, articulating, and analysing their own thoughts in writing requires students to think critically about their ideas and how to convey them based on their goals and the intended audience. Writing challenges students to understand, evaluate, and synthesise text, ideas, and concepts. Furthermore, approaching writing tasks strategically (that is, with a series of structured actions for achieving their writing goals) facilitates the development of sound arguments supported by valid reasoning.
2. Writing occurs in every discipline. Writing spans classrooms and discipline areas. Writing is a key component of English language classrooms, and secondary students on average write more for their English classes than they do for any other class. However, students write more for other disciplines combined than they do for English classes. Critical thinking occurs in every discipline and writing leads students to think critically about content and ideas presented in all classes. "Scientists, Artists, Mathematicians, Lawyers, Engineers - all 'think' with pen to paper, chalk to chalkboard, hands on terminal keys." Young and Fulwiler (1986)
Implications for the Teaching of Writing Recommendation 1. Explicitly teach appropriate writing strategies using a Model of: Practice/Reflect instructional cycle.
Recommendation 1a. Explicitly teach appropriate writing strategies. 1. Explicitly teach strategies for planning and goal setting, drafting, evaluating, revising, and editing. 2. Instruct students on how to choose and apply strategies appropriate for the audience and purpose.
Recommendation 1b. Use a Model: Practice-Reflect instructional cycle to teach writing strategies. 1. Model strategies for students. 2. Provide students with opportunities to apply and practice modelled strategies. 3. Engage students in evaluating and reflecting upon their own and peers’ writing and use of modelled strategies.
Recommendation 2. Integrate writing and reading to emphasise key writing features. 1. Teach students to understand that both writers and readers use similar strategies, knowledge, and skills to create meaning. 2. Use a variety of written exemplars to highlight the key features of texts. Recommendation 3. Use assessments of student writing to inform instruction and feedback. 1. Assess students’ strengths and areas for improvement before teaching a new strategy or skill. 2. Analyse student writing to tailor instruction and target feedback. 3. Regularly monitor students’ progress while teaching writing strategies and skills.