Kelsie Syverson, EngEd 275 DL, Chapter 2: The Reading and Writing Processes

The Reading Process


The reading process consists of 5 stages that the students work through while reading a book or story so that they can comprehend what they read. Students use the phonological system to assist with reading and understanding. This means that use their phonemic awareness, or the way they manipulate the sounds of words, and phonics rules to comprehend what is read and to understand meanings of words. Students also use word identification when reading, where they can easily read the words the know but may need to break up or sound out words they don’t know. This may cause readers to take a longer time to complete their reading. Once students are able to recognize more words and begin to read quicker they gain fluency. When students become more fluent readers, they can comprehend better. Students also need to think about the vocabulary, or meaning of the words they are reading, which also increases comprehension. Comprehension uses both the reader and the text to create an understanding of what is read. So let’s look at the 5 stages of the reading process; prereading, reading, responding, exploring, and applying.

  • Stage 1 – Prereading: Prereading happens before students even open the book and is used to get students ready to read. The students begin to use their background knowledge, set purposes, and make plans for reading. Background knowledge is information that the student already knows, which includes general knowledge but also literary knowledge about books. The teacher may need to build on some background knowledge of a book. A purpose also needs to be set; this can be set by the teacher or the student. A purpose explains how the students are going to read and what they will do when they are finished with the book. Then the students can make a plan for reading. Students can make predictions or flip through pages and look at illustrations.
  • Stage 2 – Reading: Reading can be done independently and silently but most teachers like to use these five strategies; reading aloud to students, shared reading, guided reading, partner reading, and independent reading.
    • Reading aloud to students: Teachers read to students but keep students engaged through asking questions, repeating refrains, making predictions, identifying big ideas, or making connections. Reading aloud also models for students what good readers sounds like.
    • Shared reading: Shared reading also models what a fluent reader sounds like for students. The teacher can use large books for students to follow along or each student gets their own book. This is different from reading aloud because the students have the opportunity to follow along with the text. Students can read along with the teacher at repeated phrases, rhyming words, or parts that they remember if the story has been read to them before. Students can also do the reading too, students can join in as the teacher is reading and the teacher will drop off to let the student read by themselves. Students can continue this process as they feel comfortable. Students should have good fluency when reading so that the story is still comprehensible. 
    • Guided reading: Guided reading is done in groups of four or five students that are at the same reading level. The teacher may start reading the book aloud but students typically do most of the reading themselves. Younger students may murmur words as they read but older students read silently. Lessons last about 25-30 minutes and may include rereading familiar books or introducing new books. Teachers observe the readers and spend a few minutes with each student to see what reading strategies a student might be using or how they figure out words they don’t know.
    • Partner reading: Students read with a partner or an older student. Students work together to read passages that they might not have been able to read by themselves. Students can discuss unfamiliar words or what is happening in the story. Teachers need to demonstrate to students how this is done by showing how to support your partner when they read. Students can either take turns reading or read at the same time. With this strategy the teacher needs to make sure to explain that the partners are suppose to read equally and not just one person reading the whole time.
    • Independent reading: The students read by themselves and usually silently, this way the students can read at their own pace. Students do more independent reading when they become more fluent readers.
  • Stage 3 – Responding: This means students are responding to what they read and trying to understand it. To allow students to do this reading logs can be provided. Reading logs are where students write down or draw their thoughts and feelings about what they read. Student can make their own reading logs by stapling together 10-12 sheets a blank paper and illustrating the cover to reflect the story they are reading. They then write entries after they finish reading each time. Teachers may choose a question to be answered about the reading or the students may choose what they are going to write about. Teachers read these logs while the students are still reading the stories and makes comments about what they wrote. Teachers shouldn’t be over worried about spelling and grammar as long as they are answering the questions or completing the entries correctly. Reading logs should also be graded on completeness and quality when the students are finished with their books. Students can also participate in a grand discussion where the students talk with their classmates about what was read. Personal opinions can be discussed as well as the content of the story. Teachers can guide students by asking questions. Discussions can be done with the whole class or in small groups.
  • Stage 4 – Exploring: This stage is more teacher guided than the other stages.  Students reread selections from the text and analyze them. When rereading students start to comprehend the selection more than when they initially read it. Teachers then ask text-based questions such as author’s purpose, ideas. structural elements, word choice, sentence structure, and viewpoint. Teachers choose texts that need repeated reading so that students learn to analyze what they read. Students can use story boards to sequence events and get an image of the characters and plot. Students could also right a sequel to the story that they read, what they think will happen next. Students can also explore new words and their meanings. This can be done by using a word wall. Word walls consist of words that the teacher wants students to focus on but also words the students add. Students can then use these words when writing  or creating activities like word sorts, where the students are putting the words into categories together. The teacher can also use minilessons to teach concepts, strategies, and skills to help the students explore more.
  • Stage 5 – Applying: Students are now applying what they learned and creating projects to show their comprehension. These projects can include slide shows, posters, readers theatre performances, essays, or podcasts. With readers theatre students are choosing a part/scene from the book that they want to act out in front of the class. Projects can be done independently, with a partner, in a small group or the whole class may choose to do something together.

The Writing Process


The writing process also has 5 stages; prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. These stages may occur more than once.

  • Stage 1 – Prewriting: Prewriting is when we are getting ready to write, the student is choosing a topic, considering a purpose and genre, and gathering and organizing their ideas. Student should choose their own topic from something they are interested in and have some knowledge about. Sometimes the teacher may choose a topic to write about but the teacher should make it a broad enough topic for students to narrow down to something that interests them. Students then need to choose the purpose for their writing; for example, is it for entertainment or to inform or persuade. Then students begin to brainstorm ideas by drawing pictures, making lists, reading books, searching the internet, or talking to classmates or others who may know about the topic.
  • Stage 2 – Drafting: This is when the students are writing their first drafts and organizing their ideas more structurally. Drafts are messy and are usually just a bunch of ideas formed into sentences on a page, things may be crossed out of arrows might be drawn. When writing rough drafts, every other line should be written on to leave room for editing. Only one side of the paper should be used in case the student needs to cut, rearrange, and tape it back together for it to make more sense. The paper should be marked rough draft to others understand that it is full of content but isn’t ready for grading yet.
  • Stage 3 – Revising: Revising consists of rereading the rough draft, having someone else look at it, and then revising according to the feedback. When students finish writing their rough drafts, they need to take a day or two away from it so that they can come back and read it with a fresh mind instead of just reading what they wanted written. Changes can then be made before taking it to someone else to get their perspective on it. Students can go to a revising group where other students make suggestions on changes that could be made or parts that may need more clarification. Revising groups may consist of students that finished their rough drafts around the same time or teachers can assign groups with leaders. Four or five students meet at the same time and read their own papers to the group, the group members are expected to listen and give ideas on revisions. Students then make revisions, these could be additions, subtractions, deletions, or moves.
  • Stage 4 – Editing: This is where the student is putting their paper into a final form. Students make sure words are spelt correctly, correct capitalization is used, and punctuation is used correctly. Again, the student may need to take a day or two away from the writing so they can have a fresh mind going back to it. Students need to proofread their papers to see if they find any mistakes. Teachers can demonstrate proofreading by having something written on the board. They then read it slowly looking for errors, errors are marked when found. Checklists may help students look for specific errors such as capitalization or punctuation. Students then use a red pen to correct their errors. Editing can end when the student and another student feel like they have found all the errors, or they get a final check from the teacher.
  • Stage 5 – Publishing: Students can publish their writings by making books. Books can be made many different ways; by folding paper, stapling paper, or cutting paper. The books should consist of heavier paper on the outside that the students can decorate how they want. These books can then be shared with the class, the school, families, or even the community. Students can share their writings in class by sitting in a special chair and reading to their classmates. Classmates can then ask questions or make comments when the student is done reading.

Reading Strategies


There are four main reading strategies:

  • Decoding Strategies: Students use phonics to identify unfamiliar words
  • Word-Learning Strategies: Students analyze word parts to figure out meanings of unknown words
  • Comprehension Strategies: Students predict, draw inferences, and visual to help understand what they are reading
  • Study Strategies: Students take notes and question to learn new information

Writing Strategies


There are five main writing strategies:

  • Prewriting Strategies: Students organize thought to develop ideals before they start to write
  • Drafting Strategies: Students narrow down topics to focus on ideas for their first draft
  • Revising Strategies: Students find problems, elaborate on ideas, and combine sentences to help convey their ideas better
  • Editing Strategies: Students proofread to spell word correctly and use proper grammar
  • Publishing Strategies: Students design a layout for preparing their final copy to share with their classmates and other

How Would I Use This in My Classroom


I would use the Reading Process to work with students on ways to better comprehend what they are reading. I think prereading is very important because it allows the readers to make predictions about what they think the story is going to be about by what the title is or what they see one the cover. I also think that the last stage, the applying stage, is important because this is where the students can show what they have learned.

I would use the Writing Process even with beginner writers who are just starting to learn how to put words together. Again, I think the prewriting stage is very important because the students are choosing what they want to write about and are beginning to come up with ideas or do research to assist in the writing process.

All information comes from:
Tompkins, G. E. (2017). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson

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