Academic journal article Language Arts

Readers Writing: Strategy Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Text

Academic journal article Language Arts

Readers Writing: Strategy Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Text

Article excerpt

Readers Writing: Strategy Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Text by Elizabeth Hale, Stenhouse, 2014, 208 pp., ISBN 978-1-57110-843-2

Traditionally, in the ELA classroom, reading and writing have been treated as separate subjects taught in isolation of each other. In some classrooms today, this is still the case. But, over time, research has revealed that reading and writing are inextricably linked in many ways. We now know that reading affects writing and writing affects reading. Teachers are coming to understand that teaching students the many connections between reading and writing has the potential to help them grow as readers, writers, and thinkers. In her latest book, Readers Writing: Strategy Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Text, Elizabeth Hale addresses the reading-writing connection and offers teachers new ways of thinking about their classroom practice.

Hale supports the use of reader's notebooks, which provide opportunities for students to respond to their reading through writing. She argues that students oftentimes do not know how to respond to texts in writing outside of summarizing. As a result, in her book, she offers a wide variety of strategy lessons that encourage critical thinking and responding through questioning, connecting, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating. Hale assures us that her strategy lessons are both easy to teach and easy for students of many different ability levels to understand. According to Hale, "Strategy lessons are less about teaching students about comprehension strategies and more about teaching students specific ways to verbalize thinking in the context of writing" (p. 3).

There are nine chapters in the book, and each chapter stands alone. As a result, teachers can choose a chapter based on immediate needs. For example, chapter 3 focuses on strategy lessons for narrative texts, while chapter 5 focuses on strategy lessons for nonfiction texts. Every strategy lesson follows a format that has 5 parts: Name It, Why Do It?, Model It, Try It, Share It.

Hale offers tips on how to help students organize the reader's notebook, emphasizing that having students personalize their notebooks is important at all grade levels. …

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