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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading

  1. Have students write about the texts they read. "Writing about a text proved to be better than just reading it, reading and rereading it, reading and studying it, reading and discussing it, and receiving reading instruction" (p. 14). Specific types of writing about reading that had statistically significant effect sizes included responding to a text through writing personal reactions or analyses/interpretations of the text, writing summaries of a text, taking notes on a text, and creating and/or answering questions about a text in writing. The benefits of these types of writing were stronger, particularly for lower-achieving students, when they were tied with explicit instruction on how to write.
  2. Teach students the writing skills and processes that go into creating texts. Teaching students about writing process, text structures, paragraph or sentence construction, and other writing skills improves reading comprehension; teaching spelling and sentence construction skills improve fluency; and teaching spelling skills improves word reading skills.
  3. Increase how much students write. An increase in how often students write improves students' reading comprehension. Graham and Hebert recommend more writing across the curriculum, as well as at home to achieve more time spent writing.