Opinion
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

We Must Integrate Reading and Writing

March 07, 2023 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Kudos to Education Week for rolling out a collection of articles on elementary writing instruction, a vital area of literacy development that fails to get the attention it deserves. As EdWeek’s reporters noted in the Jan. 17 special report, “The Science of Reading … And Writing,” all students need high-quality classroom resources that integrate reading and writing, build content knowledge, and provide explicit writing instruction.

I taught for 27 years and I spent way too many of them asking kids to write about topics that were disconnected from what we were reading or learning about in school. A typical writing prompt I used back then might have been, “Write about a time you were surprised.” For some students, the prompt drew blank stares and even tears as they struggled to think of what to write. Later, I stepped away from personal-experience prompts and strategically integrated my reading and writing instruction. A more equitable and creative energy took over. When my 4th graders read knowledge-building books about the anatomical heart and Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog, I could ask them to write about the literal and figurative meaning of the term “great heart.” The work required deep reading comprehension and explicit writing instruction, but it also inspired ideas and upped the writing quality.

It was terrific to see Sumner County schools in Tennessee and Kegonsa Elementary School in Wisconsin spotlighted for their efforts to improve writing instruction using Wit & Wisdom, a literacy curriculum my colleagues and I developed to build student knowledge on important topics and develop strong reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

How to develop a nation of great writers is worthy of further discussion. I hope to see more such coverage from EdWeek and others going forward.

Lorraine Griffith
Chief Knowledge Officer, Humanities
Great Minds
Leicester, N.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 08, 2023 edition of Education Week as We Must Integrate Reading and Writing

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Photos Drama and Delight: The Faces of the National Spelling Bee
The 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee came down to a high-stakes spell-off. Here's a look at the faces behind the event.
1 min read
Shrey Parikh, 12, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., reacts to a fellow competitor's word during the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., on May 30, 2024.
Shrey Parikh, 12, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., reacts to a fellow competitor's word during the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., on May 30, 2024.
Nathan Howard/AP
Reading & Literacy Q&A A New Plan to Raise the Lowest Literacy Rates in the Nation
Daily summer reading instruction for thousands of students is part of a bigger plan to improve literacy in New Mexico.
5 min read
Arsenio Romero, secretary of New Mexico’s Public Education Department, addresses the audience at the Albuquerque Earth Day Festival on April 21, 2024.
Arsenio Romero, the New Mexico secretary of education, speaks at the Albuquerque Earth Day Festival on April 21, 2024. Romero is leading a statewide effort to improve literacy.
Courtesy of New Mexico Public Education Department
Reading & Literacy Older Students Who Struggle to Read Hide in Plain Sight. What Teachers Can Do
Going back to basics may get to the root of the problem.
6 min read
Image of a seventh-grade student looking through books in her school library.
A seventh-grade student looks through books in her school library.
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages