The importance of writing
While I am sure you have seen it, I want to draw your attention to the publication of a document Writing to Read. It is available from a number of sources, including NWP, Alliance for Excellent Education, and the Carnegie Corporation.
As the NWP site says,the report recommends three core instructional practices:
1) Have students write about the texts they read. Writing about a text enhances comprehension because it provides students with a tool to visibly and permanently record, connect, analyze, personalize, and manipulate key ideas in text.
2) Teach students the writing skills and processes that go into creating text.
3) Increase how much students write. Students’ reading comprehension is improved by having them increase how often they produce their own text. The process of creating a text prompts students to be more thoughtful and engaged when reading text produced by others. The act of writing also teaches students about the importance of stating assumptions and premises clearly and observing the rules of logic. Students also benefit from using experience and knowledge to create a text and from building relationships among words, sentences, and paragraphs.
The report itself includes more specific guidance, especially on p.11. It surveys research on the different practices and analyzes the effect the different kinds of writing can have on reading.
It is an interesting report, one that I wish all administrators would read. Too many teachers I know are in situations where they are not allowed to have students write during reading instruction time. That is just crazy!
So if you haven’t read the report, check it out.