2 ForwardThe human instinct to express our feelings, thoughts and experiences in a lasting form has been around for a very long time.People wanted to leave behind a legacy, a message about who they were, what they had done and see, and what they believed in.Writing is not just a way to transfer information, it is a process of learning and hence, of education.Pg. 1
3 Executive Summary Writing skill is a predictor of academic success Writing is a basic requirement for participation in civic lifeLow achieving writers refers to students whose writing skills are not adequate to meet classroom demandsPg. 3
4 Executive SummaryEleven Elements of Effective Adolescent Writing InstructionWriting strategiesSummarizationCollaborative WritingSpecific Product GoalsWord ProcessingSentence CombiningPrewritingInquiry ActivitiesProcess Writing ApproachStudy of ModelsWriting for Content Learning
5 Introduction Cause for Alarm Seventy percent of students in grades 4-12 are low-achieving writers.Only 70% of high school students graduate on time with a regular diploma.Nearly one third of high school graduates are not ready for college-level English composition courses.U.S. graduates’ literacy skills are lower than those of graduates in most industrialized nations.
6 Introduction Low-Achieving Writers: Scope of the Problem It is often assumed that adolescents who are proficient readers must be proficient writers, too.Reading and writing don’t necessarily go hand in hand.Reading and writing draw from the same pool of background knowledge.What improves reading does not always improve writing.Students need proper instruction to become better writers.
7 Introduction Consequences “The Explosion of electronic and wireless communication in everyday life brings writing skills into play as never before.” pg. 8Writing proficiency is critical in the workplace and affects hiring and promotion decisions.Those who have difficulty writing are not prepared to meet the demands of college.Many postsecondary students enroll in remedial writing courses.Many 2-year colleges are not equipped to teach writing effectively to such a large number of students.
8 Introduction Why Writing is Important “Most contexts of life (school, the workplace, and the community) call for some level of writing skill, and each context makes overlapping, but not identical demands.” pg. 9Writing plays two roles in school.Writing is a skill that draws on the use of planning, evaluating, and revising text.Writing is means of extending and deepening students’ knowledge-a tool for learning subject matter“Because these roles are closely linked, Reading Next recommended that language arts teachers should use context-area texts to teach reading and writing skills. . .”pg. 10
9 11 Key ElementsA mixture of these elements is likely to generate the biggest return.The 11 Key elements are not a cure all. Each individual student may need a different combination of elements.“Writing quality is defined here in terms of coherently organized essays containing well-developed and pertinent ideas, supporting examples, and appropriate detail.” pg. 14
10 11 Key Elements of Adolescent Writing Instruction Writing StrategiesExplicitly teaching strategies for planning, revising, and editing has a strong impact on the quality of their writing.Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD)Develop background knowledgeDescribe itModel itMemorize it- the student memorizes the steps of the strategy/mnemonicSupport itIndependent use- students use the strategy with little supportExample mnemonicsPLANPay attention to the prompt, List the main idea, Add supporting ideas, Number your ideas.WRITEWork from your plan to develop you thesis statement, Remember your goals, Include transition words for each paragraph, Try to use different kinds of sentences, and Exciting, interesting, $10,000 words.
11 11 Key Elements of Adolescent Writing Instruction SummarizingTeaching adolescents to summarize text had a consistent, strong, positive effect on their ability to write good summaries.Collaborative WritingCollaborative writing involves developing instructional arrangements whereby students work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions.Specific Product Goals“Setting product goals involves assigning students specific, reachable goals for the writing they are to complete. It includes identifying the purpose of the assignment as well as characteristics of the final product.” Pg. 17
12 11 Key Elements of Adolescent Writing Instruction Word ProcessingIt allows the writer to add, delete, and move text easily.Word processing has a consistently positive impact on writing.Sentence CombiningSentence combining involves teaching students to construct more complex and sophisticated sentences through exercises in which two or more basic sentences are combined into a single sentence.It enhances the quality of a student’s writing.Pre-WritingEngages students in activities designed to help them generate or organize ideas.Pre-writing includes gathering possible information before writing.
13 11 Key Elements of Adolescent Writing Instruction Inquiry ActivitiesInquiry means engaging students in activities that help them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task by analyzing immediate, concrete data.“Effective inquiry activities in writing are characterized by a clearly specified goal, analysis of concrete and immediate data, use of specific strategies to conduct the analysis, and applying what was learned.” Pg. 19Process Writing ApproachThis element stresses activities that emphasize extended opportunities for writing, writing for real audiences, self-reflection, personalized instruction and goals, and cycles of planning, translating, and reviewing.Study of ModelsStudy of models includes providing students with examples before writing.Writing for Content Area LearningThis element provides a way for writing to be used as a tool to learn content material.
15 Executive Summary“American youth need strong literacy skills to succeed in school and in life. Students who do not acquire these skills find themselves at a serious disadvantage in social settings, as civil participants, and in the working world.” Pg. 3The RecommendationsDirect, explicit comprehension instructionEffective instructional principles embedded in contentMotivation and self-directed learningText-based collaborative learningStrategic tutoringDiverse textsIntensive writingA technology componentOngoing formative assessment of studentsExtended time for literacyProfessional developmentOngoing summative assessment of students and programsTeacher teamsLeadershipA comprehensive and coordinated literacy program
16 Introduction Cause for Alarm A Literary Crisis More than 8 million 4-12 graders are struggling readers.A Literary CrisisOne of the most commonly cited reasons for students dropping out is a lack of literacy skills.“Part of what makes it so difficult to meet the needs of struggling readers and writers in middle and high school is that these students experiences a wide range of challenges that require a wide range of interventions.” pg. 8Students become less motivated to read in later grades because they were not engaged in previous ones.Society is rapidly changing and thus the need for students to be literate is increasing.
17 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs Direct, explicit comprehension instructionComprehension strategiesInstruction that explicitly gives students strategies that aid them in comprehending textsComprehensions monitoring and metacognition instructionInstruction that teaches students to become ware of hoe they understand while they readTeacher modelingInvolves the teacher reading texts aloud, making her own use of strategies and practices apparent to her studentsScaffolding instructionInvolves teachers giving high support for students practicing new skills and then slowly decreasing that support to increase student ownership and self-sufficiencyApprenticeship modelsInvolves teachers engaging students in a content-centered learning relationship
18 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs Effective Instructional Principles Embedded in ContentThis element has two formsFirst formWhen instructional principles are embedded in content, the language arts teacher does not simply teach a technique as an abstract skill, but teaches it using content-area materials.Students should receive instruction and then practice their new skills using these materials.Second formContent-area do not become reading teachers, but they should emphasize reading and writing practice that go along with their subject.
19 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs Motivation and Self-Directed LearningBuilding choices into the school day is an important way to reawaken student engagement.Provide students with opportunities to select for themselves the materials they read and topics they researchIndependent reading timeSelf-regulation is only developed when students are given choices and the instructional support and aids needed to succeed at their chosen tasks.Promote relevancy by tuning it to your students’ lives
20 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs Text-based Collaborative LearningWhen students work in small groups, they should not simply discuss a topic, but interact with each other around a textProvide scaffolding for engagement at every ability level in the class and promote better oral language and content-area skills by giving the students concrete problems to discuss and solve.Strategic TutoringInstruction in general education classes should be differentiated to allow students access to important content.Students need to be taught “how to learn.”Tutors teach learning strategiesThe goal is to empower adolescents to complete similar tasks independently in the future.Diverse TextsDiverse texts that present a wide range of topics at a variety of reading levels.High interest and low readabilityThe range of topics should include a wide variety of cultural, linguistic, and demographic groups.It is crucial to have a range of texts in the classroom that link to multiple ability levels and connect to students’ background experiences.Intensive WritingWriting instruction improves reading comprehensionMany of the skills involved in writing, such as grammar and spelling, reinforce reading skills, and effective interventions will help middle and high school students read like writers and write like readers.Attention should be given not only to increasing the amount of writing instruction, but also increasing the amount of writing students do.
21 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs A Technology Component“Technology is both a facilitator of literacy and medium of literacy. Effective adolescent literacy programs therefore should use technology as both an instructional tool and an instructional topic.” pg. 19Technology can help teachers provide needed supportTechnology is changing the reading and writing demands of modern society.Ongoing Formative Assessment of StudentsThese formative assessments are specifically designed to inform instruction on a very frequent basis so that adjustments in instruction can be made to ensure that students are on pace to reach mastery targets.Extended Time for Literacy“The panel strongly argued the need for two to four hours of literacy-connected learning daily.” pg. 20Teachers need to realize they are not just teaching content knowledge but also ways of reading and writing specific to a subject area.Professional DevelopmentLong-term professional development is more likely to promote lasting, positive changes in teacher knowledge and practice.Professional development opportunities should be built into the regular school schedule, with consistent opportunities to learn about new research and practices as well as opportunities to implement and reflect upon new ideas.
22 15 Key Elements of Effective Literacy Programs Ongoing Summative Assessment of Students and ProgramsThese assessments are designed specifically for implementation with continuous progress-monitoring systems. They allow teachers to track students throughout a school year, and ideally, over an entire academic career.Teacher TeamsEnsures that the school structure supports coordinated instruction and planning in an interdisciplinary teacher team.Teacher meet regularly to discuss students they have in common and to align instruction.Meeting regularly allows teachers to plan for consistency in instruction.LeadershipWithout a principal’s clear commitment and enthusiasm, a curricular and instructional reform has no more chance of succeeding than any other school wide reform.“It is critical that a principal assumes the role of an instructional leader, who demonstrates commitment and participates in the school community.A Comprehensive and Coordinated Literacy ProgramThis is not obtainable without other infrastructural improvements.Closely aligned to leadership and the establishment of teacher teams.Requires that teachers coordinate their instruction to reinforce important strategies and conceptsIt is important to develop a comprehensive literacy program that will successfully address the needs of all their students.