Connecting the science of reading with writing strategies can be used to build literacy skills in your students if you do it correctly.
Have you ever heard the old expression, “Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmetic” also known as the 3Rs? It seems that back in the day, it was understood that these subjects went together across the curriculum. PBL, STEM, STEAM, and STREAM all use the interconnectedness of subjects across the curriculum. Current educational philosophy and research supports this interconnectedness.
Connecting the science of reading with teaching writing strategies might be one of the best ways to build literacy skills in your students. Let’s make it “reading, writing, and rev it up!”
Educational research is revealing that the science of reading and teaching writing go hand in hand. It’s not effective to have thirty minutes a day of writing instruction completely separated from reading instruction, math instruction, science, and other subjects.
Teaching writing and the science of reading are intertwined, and as teachers, we can make leaps and bounds in teaching writing if we take advantage of this cross-curriculum relationship.
Is There a Magic Potion for Literacy Skills?
Let’s explore the interconnection between the science of reading and teaching writing with a systematic approach. You’ll discover how integrating these two areas can significantly benefit your students’ overall literacy development.
When it comes to the science of reading, which focuses on understanding how reading develops and how it can be taught most effectively, writing plays a crucial role. Writing provides an opportunity for students to actively engage with language, apply their knowledge of phonics, vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, and practice the skills they learn in reading instruction.
In the context of teaching writing, knowledge about the science of reading is invaluable. Understanding the cognitive processes involved in reading helps teachers design effective writing instruction. For example, teachers can explicitly teach phonics and word recognition strategies that are important for both reading and spelling. They can also emphasize vocabulary development, as a rich vocabulary enhances both reading comprehension and written expression.
Using the Science of Reading to Teach Writing Strategies
Understanding the science of reading is key to effective literacy instruction. By delving into the cognitive processes involved in reading, you can gain valuable insights into how to best support your students’ writing skills.
Phonemic awareness and morphology are two of the foundations for learning to read well. Likewise, simple foundational skills such as structure of sentences and language skills are the bedrock of writing well. With the science of reading, you can teach your students how to write using the exemplar texts you use to teach reading.
Yes, there truly is a magic potion for developing literacy skills. The connection between reading and writing is powerful. Let’s explore how integrating reading and writing instruction can maximize your students’ learning experience.
Boosting Reading Comprehension through Writing
Writing provides a unique opportunity for students to actively engage with language and reinforce their reading skills. Targeted writing activities can enhance reading comprehension and deepen their understanding of texts. Likewise, the understanding of texts and how they are written will deepen students’ understanding of how to write to communicate. This is part of the research backing the use of mentor texts in teaching writing.
Using novel studies is another way to teach writing strategies while boosting vocabulary and comprehension. I shared about that in the blog post 9 Compelling Benefits to Use a Book Study to Teach Reading.
Enhancing Writing Skills through the Science of Reading
The science of reading offers valuable insights that can simplify the writing process for your students. Incorporating phonics, vocabulary, and grammar instruction into writing lessons can empower students to become confident and effective writers.
This is part of basis for the Two Color Writing Skills practice sheet for a step-by-step, simple system for teaching writing. This sheet lists the basic skills needed to move from simple capitalization and punctuation to writing a thesis statement and essays.
The Two Color Writing Skills practice sheet isn’t a curriculum. It’s a guide for teachers to pace instruction when they teach writing. Each topic is a mini-lesson before having students practice the skill in a short writing assignment. It works perfectly with daily writing practice.
You can download a Two Color Writing Skills Practice checklist for free here. It’s been updated, so if you downloaded it before June 2023, be sure to get the new version!
Research Backs Up Integrating Science of Reading and Teaching Writing
Don’t just take my word for it – research supports the connection between reading and writing. We’ll share key findings from studies that highlight the reciprocal relationship between these two skills and the benefits of an integrated approach.
By intertwining reading and writing instruction, teachers create a synergistic learning environment where students develop a comprehensive set of literacy skills. This integrated approach helps students see the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing, enabling them to become proficient communicators.
Teaching Writing Strategies Positively Impacts Reading Ability
A research meta-analysis published by Graham and Hebert (2011) found that teaching writing strategies positively impacted reading comprehension.
Students who received explicit instruction in writing strategies showed improved reading comprehension skills compared to those who did not receive such instruction.
I believe the key here is the explicit instruction prior to giving students the time to practice the skills they’ve just learned.
Explicitly Teaching Writing Strategies
The “Writing Next” report by Graham and Perin (2007) synthesized research on effective writing instruction.
They highlighted the importance of explicit teaching of writing strategies, such as planning, revising, and summarizing, which are not only beneficial for writing but also support reading comprehension.
In addition to the explicit teaching of the writing process, students need to be explicitly taught the foundational skills of writing. These include sentence and paragraph structure, supporting a thesis, summarizing a text, and features of text to communicate a message.
These are only two of many studies about the relationship between reading and teaching writing.
Practical Strategies for Integration
Ready to put theory into practice? Here are some ideas for practical strategies to seamlessly integrate the science of reading and writing instruction in your classroom. From cross-curricular activities to explicit writing strategy instruction, these will make the connection come to life.
In all subjects, look for ways to connect the text with a writing component.
- If you read an article about any topic, have students write a short paragraph summarizing what the author wrote.
- You could also have them write an opinion about the article if it happens to be something that invites opinions.
- If you read two or more articles about the same topic, have students write a compare and contrast essay between two of them.
- Have students explore math word problems by writing a similar word problem on their own.
- Students can write a process paragraph explaining how to solve a real-world math problem. Have them write as if they are teaching another student.
- Have students write a lesson to teach something they know how to do. This is sometimes called “Teach the Teacher.”
- Use a favorite book or story as a mentor text. Have students write an original paragraph using the same skills the author of the mentor text used. Learn more about mentor texts here and using mentor text routines here. You’ll get tips on how to use a mentor text routine in your classroom and free downloads. Examining and imitating mentor texts allow students to develop better comprehension and writing skills.
Unlock the full potential of your students’ literacy skills. Embracing the interplay between the science of reading and writing strategies is key. Integrating reading and writing instruction enhances reading comprehension and writing abilities. It also empowers students to become proficient communicators. Dive in, explore the research, and try out the practical strategies you find here on this blog and in my courses.
Your students will thank you for it.
Let’s create a learning environment where students thrive by connecting the science of reading and teaching writing.