With the emphasis placed on state standardized testing, students in the United States must hit benchmarks throughout their schooling to be considered proficient. Reading and writing skills are essential to students' success in school and future professions and are interrelated: A student cannot write effectively without knowing how to read. Teachers may make the mistake of teaching reading and writing skills separately. Cross-curricular lessons containing both reading and writing strategies can address this issue.
- Skill level:
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Model how to read and write every day to your students. Younger students learn voice inflections when listening to a teacher read aloud. You can also prompt students' comprehension skills with comments such as, "After reading that paragraph, I am thinking ... ." At the same time, you can model writing on chart paper about the writing. The students learn basic grammar and correct spelling when the teacher models writing.
Encourage students to participate in high-interest reading and writing. Allow a certain amount of time--30 minutes is enough--for the students to choose a book they want to read alone. The students are more likely to stay engaged when reading a book they have interest in reading. The same can be done with writing. Grant the students time to write notes, journal entries, poems, or songs without a writing prompt.
Provide social activities for your students. Studies show students often write in the way that they speak. So putting your students in groups expands their vocabulary, because they are listening to the different things people say. Place students in small groups after reading a selection. Demanding the students to talk about a reading selection helps lower-level students with the comprehension of the selection. Higher-level students are prompted to see someone else's point of view about the selection.
Teach a skill first and then practice it. "I do, we do, you do" is an excellent model to establish in your classroom. "I do" means you teach the skill--let's say making inferences--to the students first. "We do" is when the class practices making inferences together. This can be an activity or teacher-directed discussion. "You do" is the students completing an activity on their own where they need to show they have mastered the skill of making inferences.
Blend one skill into another skill. Show the students how reading and writing skills go together. You can teach main ideas simultaneously in reading and writing. After main ideas, teach main details and supporting details. When skills are blended together, the students are able to correlate similarities and differences of the ideas, deepening their understand of the concept.
Tips and warnings
- Check the independent writing of the students. Provide instructions on inappropriate school topics the students are not allowed to write about. Checking the writing shows consistency and accountability to the students.
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