Reading students, Carlene often points out the differences

Reading and writing are intimately connected to each other. While this may seem intuitive to many adults, this isn’t always clear to children.

In this lesson, we’ll look at what teachers can do in the classroom to help students with both.

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Literacy

Carlene is very excited about starting a new school year, but she’s a little nervous, too, because things are different this year. In the past, she’s always taught literacy as a whole unit to her students, but now she’s been asked to teach only writing, while another teacher will teach reading to her students.Literacy is an important life skill and involves proficiency in reading and writing. As an academic subject, literacy can span subjects like reading and writing, as well as more detailed areas, like phonics instruction and spelling.Some schools teach literacy all together, but many schools teach reading and writing as separate subjects. Is this a good idea? Or should they be taught together?To help Carlene understand the separate yet connected nature of different elements in literacy, let’s examine the connections between reading and writing and some tips for how teachers can use those connections to help their students succeed.

Reading & Writing Connections

Carlene is used to teaching reading and writing together, and that makes sense to many people, because there are many connections between reading and writing. In many ways, they go together. For example, studies show that there is a correlation between success in one and success in the other. That is, students who are good at reading are often good at writing, too.This makes sense to Carlene. Many of the things that you learn in reading are also true in writing.

For example, when teaching reading to her students, Carlene often points out the differences in types of texts. A magazine article about spiders is structured very differently from a short story about a girl who is afraid of spiders! Understanding the ways that different types of texts are organized and written helps readers to understand what they are reading.But that same knowledge also helps writers be better at what they do. Knowing the way a magazine article is written differently from a short story can help Carlene’s students write each of those things better.On an even more basic level, Carlene has noticed that things like vocabulary and understanding grammar help her students at both reading and writing. And higher-order skills, like critical thinking and analyzing come in handy for both reading and writing.

Tips for Teachers

It’s clear to Carlene that reading and writing are intimately connected.

But her school has hired a reading specialist who will be teaching reading to her students, while she teaches writing to them. Carlene isn’t sure how this will work. How can teachers link reading and writing in the classroom?Carlene can work closely with the reading specialist on planning lessons that make the reading and writing connection clear to the students.

And even teachers who teach both reading and writing can do certain things to make sure students can see the link between reading and writing. Tips for linking these subjects include:1. Study genres and different types of textsAs we’ve already seen, one of the things that is a boon to students is the understanding of how different types of texts differ from one another. By teaching students to study different genres and types of texts, teachers can help them both as readers and writers.Carlene and the reading specialist, for example, can plan a unit that centers on a specific genre, like memoir or persuasive essays, or magazine articles. The reading specialist can teach students how to read that genre, while Carlene can teach them how to write in that genre. Both of them can teach the things that make that genre different from others.

2. Study craftBy craft, I mean the successful implementation of writing. Carlene and the reading specialist can work in tandem to help their students understand what makes writing successful.For example, if Carlene is teaching students how to write an introduction to an essay, the reading specialist can have them read essays that have very good introductions and talk about why the introductions worked.

In this way, the students are studying what makes writing successful.3. Study the sound of languagePhonics is a major part of both reading and writing, and it involves the sound of language: what words sound like, and how they can be broken up into parts, like phonemes and blends.Carlene and the reading specialist can help students study phonics.

This will help them read better, as they are able to sound out unfamiliar words, and also to write better, as it will strengthen their spelling.4. Study vocabularyAs with phonics, vocabulary can help strengthen a student’s literacy, since increasing their vocabulary can both help them read higher-level texts and also writer higher-level pieces. By working in tandem to teach students vocabulary, Carlene and the reading specialist can give students a deeper understanding of vocabulary words. They can read texts with the new vocabulary in reading class and incorporate the new words into their writing, which gives them multiple chances to internalize their growing vocabulary.

Whether taught by two teachers, as at Carlene’s school, or one, reading and writing are intertwined, and with some careful planning, teachers can help increase student success in both areas through integrated lessons.

Lesson Summary

Literacy involves proficiency in reading and writing. These subjects are very closely connected, and some studies have shown that success in one is related to success in another. In order to take advantage of the link between reading and writing, teachers should have their students study genres and different types of texts, study craft, or the successful implementation of writing, study the sound of language, or phonics, and study vocabulary.

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