Kelsie Syverson, EngEd 370, Chapter 11: Reading – Writing Connections

Relationships Between Reading and Writing


Students should write about what they are reading and should read about what they are writing. Supported by new knowledge about literacy development, today’s teachers recognize that when students are engaged in writing, they are using and manipulating written language. In doing so, children develop valuable concepts about print and how messages are created.

Writing and reading abilities develop concurrently and should be nurtured together. Children write first and read later according to Carol Chomsky. Children acquire letter and word knowledge through invented spellings. Teachers need to understand that the reading and writing connections for students from diverse backgrounds ought to be based on the roles reading and writing play in the social lives of people of various cultures.

  • Reading and writing processes are correlated; that is, good readers are generally good writers, and vice versa.
  • Students who write well tend to read more than those who are less capable writers.
  • Wide reading may be as effective in improving writing as actual practice in writing.
  • Good readers and writers are likely yo engage in reading and writing independently because they have healthy concepts of themselves as readers and writers.

Creating Environments for Reading and Writing


There are 8 suggestions for encouraging classroom writing:

  1. Use students’ experiences, and encourage them to write about things that are relevant to their interests and needs
  2. Develop sensitivity to good writing by reading poetry and literature to students
  3. Invent ways to value what students have written
  4. Guide the reading personally
  5. Write stories and poetry of your own and share them with your students
  6. Tie in writing with the entire curriculum
  7. Start a writing center in your classroom
  8. Create a relaxed atmosphere

When a teacher encourages students to write, they engage in reading activities in varied and unexpected ways.

Connecting Reading and Writing


Dialogue journals emphasize meaning while providing natural, functional experiences in both writing and reading. Students and teachers use dialogue journals to converse in writing. A teacher’s response to students’ entries may include comments, questions, and invitations to children to express themselves.

Buddy journals are similar to dialogue journals except instead of the teacher writing back, another student writes back.

Key pals are similar to pen pals except that students write back and forth through email or other electronic technology. Key pal correspondence creates opportunities for students to communicate with other students from around the world, learn about different cultures, ask questions, and develop literacy skills.

Double-entry journals provide students with an opportunity to identify text passages that are interesting or meaningful to them and to explore, in writing, why. Students fold paper in half lengthwise to create two columns for journal entries. On the left side, readers select quotes from the text (could be a word, phrase, sentence, or more) that they find interesting. On the right side, the reader enters their personal responses and reactions to the text.

Reading journals provide students with more structure and less choice in deciding what they will write about. The teacher often provides a prompt to guide the students’ writing after a period of sustained reading.

Response journals are different from reading journals because of the amount of prompting the teacher gives. Response journals invite readers to respond to literacy texts freely, without being prompted.

Writing notebooks are used to gather observations, thoughts, reactions, ideas, unusual words, pictures, and interesting facts that might later spur them to write. Unlike journals, the notebooks are meant to provide students with a place to collect thoughts for future writing.

Multigenre projects or paper is a collection of genres that reflects multiple responses to a book, theme, or topic. Students are given choices about which genres to use and they experiment with writing in a variety of ways.

A Plot scaffold is an open-ended script in which students use their imaginations and creative writing in a playful way. The open-ended scripts include characters, a setting, problem, and solution with spaces for the students to write additional descriptions and problem-solving dialogue. There are 7 elements to plot:

  1. The book
  2. The problem
  3. Backfill
  4. A complication
  5. Action-reaction
  6. Dark moment
  7. Resolution

The Writing Process


Traditionally, these stages include having students:

  1. Brainstorm (a time to generate ideas, stimulate thinking, make plans, and create a desire to write) what they want to write
  2. Draft their thoughts
  3. Revise their thoughts after input from the teacher or peers
  4. Edit their writing for errors
  5. Publish their writing

The authors of our text have a few different terms for these stages.

  • Discovery: finding a topic and writing preliminary ideas
  • Drafting: getting ideas down on paper
  • Revising: Making it right

The Writing Workshop


Begins by providing students with the structure they need to understand, develop, or use specific writing strategies or by giving them direction in planning their writing or in revising their drafts. The minilesson is  brief, direct instructional exchange (usually no longer than 10 minutes) between the teacher and the writing group (can be the whole group too).

Writing workshop plan:

  • Minilesson (3-10 minutes)
  • Writing process (45-120 minutes)
  • Group share session (10-15 minutes)

A main purpose of a group sharing session is to have writers reflect on the day’s work. “Process discussions” focus of concerns implicit in the following questions:

  • How did your writing go today? Did you get a lot done?
  • Did you write better today than yesterday?
  • Was it hard for you to keep your mind on what you were writing?
  • What do you think you’ll work on tomorrow?
  • What problems did you have today?

Guided Writing Instruction


An instructional framework in which teachers scaffold students’ writing as they write. Guided writing involves teaching skills that are needed by students based on actual observation, engaging the students in conversations as they write, and using prompts to guide instruction.

Reading – Writing – Technology Connections


Technology integrated into the curriculum for meaningful learning, can be a powerful tool in students’ literacy development. Students have instant access to electronic texts on the Internet. Using computers to construct electronic texts helps students examine ideas, organize and report information and inquiry findings, and communicate with others. Word processing, desktop publishing, and authoring software programs allow students to use and develop literacy skills to publish writing in creative ways and prepare multimedia reports and presentations relevant to curriculum objectives.

Vacca, J. L., Vacca, R. T., & Gove, M. K. (2012). Reading and learning to read (8th ed.). New York: Longman.

Classroom Application


I really liked the idea of having the teacher write stories and poetry and sharing it with the students. This gives students a role model to their writing and then they can get to know more about their teacher through their writing. When the students write during class about a topic the teacher gives or just free journal writing, the teacher can write too and share what they wrote. I will also use the ideas for setting up the classroom to encourage writing. Writing is so important in students’ lives and will be something they will use when they get older too. I want to encourage this the most I can.

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