Writing A-Z White Paper by Adria F. Klein, Ph.D
Writing A–Z is a website offering a
comprehensive collection of downloadable
lessons and materials. The core lessons are
grouped under five main writing genres:
category is further divided into a subset of
text types with accompanying resources to
teach each type. Lessons and materials are
provided at four developmental levels to
meet the needs of students at different
writing stages, from beginning to fluent. In
addition to the specific text type writing
lessons and materials, the website houses a
of mini-lessons on writing skills such as
sentence and paragraph writing. There is
also a collection of support resources to
aid writing instruction, including writing
prompts, wordless books, read-aloud books,
rubrics, and writing samples.
Why Teach Writing?
Writing is a major form of
communication that allows
people to interact with, and
learn from, others. Instruction
in writing helps students
understand how to organize ideas
and construct meaning, processes
similar to those they use while
reading. In fact, research
indicates that writing and
reading develop together (Egawa,
2001; Cooper, 1991), and
instruction in both areas leads
to improvements in both writing
and reading (Tierney and
Writers develop their ability
to write in a particular genre
through opportunities to both
read and write in that genre (Egawa,
2001). Further, a student's
early explorations of print are
an indication of what he or she
attends to in reading and
writing (Clay, 1991).
Best Practices in Writing Instruction
Research indicates that
students should have the
opportunity to write daily
(Graves, 1983), and it is
recommended that writing occur
35 to 40 minutes daily for at
least four days a week (Graves,
1991). Since a wide range of
writing abilities can exist
within one age group, it is
important to determine and build
upon a student's individual
strengths, not expecting each
student to take the same steps
while developing as a writer
Process writing is one
approach to writing instruction
in which modeling and guidance
are provided to students at each
step, allowing them to become
independent writers. These steps
include: prewrite, draft,
revise, edit, and publish. While
creating compositions, writers
develop their ideas, make sense
of them, and then make changes (Egawa,
2001). They interact between
steps of the writing process at
the same time, rather than in
sequence. These interactions are
then repeated (Fearn, 2001).
Providing support at each
step of the writing process also
helps students avoid
developing misconceptions about
writing, as well as create a
positive attitude about writing.
This positive writing attitude
is fostered through
opportunities for students to
see teachers write, be a partner
in learning, make their own
decisions about the topics of
their writing, and have
authentic reasons to write
Writing A–Z Correlation
Genre lesson units:
- Supports steps of the writing process from prewriting through publishing.
- Leveled tips meet student needs at a variety of developmental levels.
- Each lesson unit includes writing samples, graphic organizers, graphic organizer samples, revision checklists, editing guides, classroom posters, and a rubric.
- Experience It activity in each lesson establishes a common experience for initial exploration of the genre text type and activation of prior knowledge, and for creating an authentic context for a class draft with students.
Provide brief instruction and
extra support to strengthen
students' writing skills as
Genre lesson materials/Writing tools:
Samples, rubrics, revision
checklists, graphic organizers,
book connections are provided at
multiple developmental levels to
meet the needs of individual
RAZ book connection:
Read-aloud books that provide
opportunities for students to
listen to models of each genre text
Writing prompts and Wordless books:
Provide an authentic context for students
to create stories
based on their topics.
Cooper, J. D. (1997). Literacy:
Helping children construct meaning (3rd
ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Clay, M. (1991). Becoming Literate:
The construction of inner control.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Egawa, K. (2001). Writing in the
middle grades. Language Arts, (78) 3.
Fearn, L. (2001). Interactions: Teaching
writing and the language arts. New York:
Graves, D. H. (1983). Writing:
Teachers and children at work. Exeter,
Graves, D. H. (1991). Build a literate
classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Tierney, R. J., & Shanahan, T. (1991).
Research on the reading-writing
relationship: Interactions, transactions,
and outcomes. In R. Barr, M. L. Kamil, P.
Mosenthal, & P. D. Pearson (Eds.),
Handbook of reading research (Vol. 2,
pp. 246-280). New York: Longman.