Writing to Learn

Writing can be used as a tool to support students’ learning in all content areas. When students paraphrase and convert text into their own words, they are not simply engaged in rote (shallow) learning. Instead, writing about material read and presented in class encourages students to reflect on their understanding of key concepts and organize and integrate ideas into a coherent whole. This can be done several ways, including (but not limited to) structured note-taking, written summaries, question and answer development, and application essays.

Field Guide Alignment: Writing, Principle 1
Establish consistent school wide practices for using writing as a tool to support student learning in all content areas.

Note: There is also some connection with Reading, Principle 6. Guide students during text-related oral and written activities that support the interpretation, analysis, and summarization of text.
(See Summarization Toolkit)


Learn about the strategy

Article with rubrics and sample activities
Developed by International Literacy Association

Article describing one school’s experience
Developed by Edutopia


See the strategy in action

Model lesson
Developed by The Teaching Channel

Model lesson
Developed by The Teaching Channel

Tutorial video
Developed by Jennifer DesRochers

Example lesson
Developed by MSMI


Use the strategy

Description of strategies and podcast
Developed by Cult of Pedagogy

Strategy to respond to text in writing
Developed by FacingHistory.org

Written Summaries

Summarization printables
Developed by MSMI

How-to guide for teachers
Developed by AdLit.org

Student handout
Developed by MSMI

Activities and samples
Developed by Adlit.org

Toolkit Navigation