Writing Instructional Practices


Writing is an integral tool that supports and connects learning in all content areas in the middle grades. Students must master writing processes, knowledge, and skills. Students “learn to write” and “write to learn.”

How writing instruction interventions and assessments can improve student outcomesOverview of Writing Principles and Practices

Principle 1: Establish consistent schoolwide practices for using writing as a tool to support student learning in all content areas.

  • Practice 1: Ask students to analyze, interpret, or personalize in writing information that has been read or presented.
  • Practice 2: Ask students to provide written summaries of material read or presented in class.
  • Practice 3: Ask students to take written notes about material read or presented in class.
  • Practice 4: Ask students to answer questions in writing about material read or presented in class.

Principle 2: Explicitly and systematically teach students the processes, knowledge, and skills of e active writing.

  • Practice 1: Analyze and emulate model text to discover the characteristics of good writing and the features of speci c types of text.
  • Practice 2: Model and teach strategies for planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing written work.
  • Practice 3: Teach students how to construct complex sentences. Practice 4: Re ne students’ spelling, grammar, and usage skills.

Principle 3: Establish word processing as the common medium for student writing.

  • Practice 1: Make enough word processors available in the school so that all students can use them to complete writing assignments.
  • Practice 2: Teach keyboarding skills and how to use word processing programs and software.

Principle 4: Assess and monitor student writing to improve instruction and identify students who require more intensive writing instruction.

  • Practice 1: Monitor students’ progress as writers.
  • Practice 2: Provide students with feedback about their writing.
  • Practice 3: Teach students how to give one another feedback about their writing.
  • Practice 4: Teach students how to assess the quality of their own writing.

Principle 5: Provide extra assistance and instruction to students who experience difficulty learning to write.

  • Practice 1: Provide students with intensive and extra instruction to acquire the strategies, knowledge, and writing skills that still need to be mastered.
  • Practice 2: Teach students how to use word processing programs and software that provide assistance for targeted writing strategies and skills.
  • Practice 3: Provide to students experiencing diffculties intensive and extra instruction in using writing as a tool to support content learning.

Principle 6: Discontinue using practices that are NOT associated with improved outcomes for students.

  • Practice 1: Take stock of all of the instructional practices and models currently implemented and determine whether they are necessary and associated with improved outcomes for students.

Principle 7: Improve teacher capacity to teach writing and use it as a tool for learning.

  • Practice 1: Provide ongoing in-service professional development to all teachers to increase their capacity to teach writing.
  • Practice 2: Have teachers create learning groups to share their best writing practices and work together to discover new ones.