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Improving Students' Writing, K-8

Improving Students' Writing, K-8
From Meaning-Making to High Stakes!

October 2005 | 184 pages | Corwin
No longer the forgotten "R", writing is receiving more and more attention. "Constructed response" writing is increasingly used as a more authentic form of test item to assess content understanding. Mathematics and science standards require writing to demonstrate and communicate understanding. Writing is seen as one of the strongest predictors of success in college and will become a requirement on SATs.

This book offers teachers loads of examples of how to engage children and improve their performance in all types of content and creative writing, from self-selected topics, to limited-selection topics, to focused-topic writing and constructed response to test items. Using student samples, the authors offer various suggestions for identifying how individual students can be guided to improvement. The book will show teachers how to give students skills to collect and structure ideas and information, craft these into words, sentences and paragraphs, and present it all in a way to match what they hope their readers will understand. Special emphasis is placed on helping students write informational text as a way to demonstrate their understanding and process and work toward their own new understanding of information.

Essential for teachers in our current testing environment, this book offers steps and tools to strengthen students' facility with the much-assessed six traits of writing and help students achieve on high stakes assessments. Real student writing samples and classroom conversations make it easy for teachers to transfer tools, strategies and practices to their own classrooms.

About the Authors
1. Writing to Learn and Understand
Purposes for Writing

Yesterday’s and Today’s Challenges

Literacy Connections in Your Classroom

The Three Hardest Parts About Helping Student Writers

Writing Together as a Way of Communicating, Learning, and Meaning-Making

2. Writing About Information
Informal Writing

Formal Writing

Connections Between Informational Text and Student Writing

Reading Informational Text to Learn About Structure

Final Thoughts

3. Narrative Writing
Narrative Writing

Writing Development

Gender and Writing

Informal Narrative Writing

Formal Narrative Writing

Final Thoughts

4. Writing With Purpose for Real Audiences
Part of a Classroom Culture

Writing for Real Audiences

Writing for Real Purposes

Analyzing Writing as a Craft


Responding to Writing


Writing With Reason

5. Preparing for High-Stakes Writing Assessments
Historical Perspective

Writing Assessment Methods

Writing Assessment Tasks

Helping Students With Trait-Scored Divergent and Convergent Assessment Items

Product Versus Process

Final Thoughts

6. Connecting Writing and Classroom Conversation
Academic Conversations

Final Thoughts


"Purposeful, realistic, throetically based...and clearly written by authors who appreciate bringing the joy of learning into the classroom. For experienced teachers, the book renews my excitement for teaching writing, and for new teachers, the text offers suggestions from a voice of experience-all within the framework of NCLB legislation for differentiating teaching based on learners' needs."

Julia Weinberg, Instructor
University of Nevada, Reno

Diane M. Barone

Diane M. Barone is Professor Literacy Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.  In her role at the university, she teaches courses in early literacy, diversity and literacy, and qualitative research.  Her research interests center on young children, especially in high poverty schools, and how they develop in literacy.  Her most current study followed 16 children from kindergarten through to Grade 6 to document their literacy growth.  She has been an editor of Reading Research Quarterly and has written numerous articles, book chapters, and books.  Some of her recent books include Reading First in the Classroom... More About Author

Joan M. Taylor

Joan Taylor is a teacher-consultant who works with teachers and students in Title I schools in the Reno/Sparks area of Northern Nevada.  She recently completed a dissertation on A History of Written Composition Instruction in U.S. Elementary Schools.  Her research interests, in addition to historical and current perspectives on writing instruction, are focused on exploring teachers' stories on learning and teaching.She has been a long-time middle school teacher in Washoe County Schools.  She is also Nevada State Networks Writing Project Co-Director, and during the past several years has authored a number of federally funded... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412917124
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