Reading and Writing to Learn: Strategies across the Curriculum

Reading and Writing to Learn: Strategies across the Curriculum

Reading and Writing to Learn: Strategies across the Curriculum

Reading and Writing to Learn: Strategies across the Curriculum


Research indicates that writing and reading should be taught in tandem. This content-area resource puts "writing to learn" into practice across curricular areas. It shows teachers how to present strategies common to good readers to increase understanding of a text. Students are taught to predict and infer, visualize, connect, question, understand word meanings, organize, clarify/monitor, and evaluate/reflect. Grades 3-12


The purpose of this book is to offer teachers a resource that contains reading, writing, affective, cooperative, and best practices activities for all content areas. Since much of the text that teachers ask students to read is written above their instructional or independent reading level, students need strategies, skills, and practice to help them gain understanding of the material that they are expected to read and understand in all disciplines. Teachers tend to be experts in their own teaching fields and are quite adept at reading and teaching those subjects. However, in every class there are a wide range of readers, various degrees of motivation among students, and different levels of writing skill. I have found that teachers appreciate finding alternatives to help their students learn in a variety of ways. Once teachers and students experience success with a new idea, they are willing to repeat the strategy, skill, or activity again and again.

This book offers more than 60 activities on reading to learn and writing to learn, including lessons geared to accommodate different learning styles, a range of reading abilities, and various levels of motivation. Students need to feel comfortable and safe to want to learn; this area is the affective domain of teaching and learning. Several activities in this book will motivate students and help them connect to one another so the class can function as a team. Extensive research in the field of reading makes it quite clear that both reading and writing are processes, and both processes are necessary for learning. Reading improves writing, and writing improves reading.

Since the cognitive, affective, reading, and writing processes are all intertwined in the learning process, the activities in this book are organized in three sections, based on the major focus of the activities, with 20 activities in each section. Part 1 contains reading to learn activities; part 2 reading and writing to learn activities involving affective and cooperative learning; and part 3 writing to learn activities. Within each activity are suggestions for continued guided practice. Best practices suggest that teachers model first, then offer guided practice, and finally lead students to independence.

All the activities and lessons in the book have been successfully used at various grade levels in all content areas. I have taught all grades in more than thirty years of teaching and am currently teaching high school and conducting workshops with content teachers, and as a result all of the ideas have been used, evaluated, changed, and shared with other colleagues. My most challenging and rewarding students have been those who walked into my classes as nonreaders and nonwriters and left as motivated readers and writers as well as lifelong learners.

I have been fortunate to work with and to learn from some very talented educators, who have been willing to share their expertise and model great teaching. This book allows me to share some of my “best” teaching ideas with others. All learners appreciate choice and variety in learning. I hope that this book of ideas offers your students success both in their reading and writing, to increase their ownership of learning.

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