Learning List has reviewed Heinemann’s Units of Study in Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing for grades 6-8. We have previously reviewed Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing for grades K-5. Both products are supplemental writing programs made up of a set of print resources for teachers with additional materials available on CD-ROM. Based on the work of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, Units of Study incorporates a workshop approach to teaching writing skills that focuses on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for writing. [Read more…]
Posts Tagged "Writing"
A recent New York Times article titled Why Kids Can’t Write explores the reasons behind U.S. students’ poor writing skills. The article asserts that the root of writing problems lies with teachers, most of whom have not been trained in how to teach writing, and who are not confident writers themselves. The article goes on to cite specific efforts, such as the National Writing Project and The Writing Revolution, that are focused on training educators how to teach writing skills, as well as the research on effective writing instruction, which suggests a few concrete strategies. For example, students should learn to transcribe by hand and using a computer. Instruction should teach students to write strong sentences before introducing paragraphs. Students benefit when writing instruction integrates grammar, includes models of good writing, and provides frequent feedback about the students’ own writing.
At Learning List, we believe that high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials, including writing materials, are critical to teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. In our work this summer, we have reviewed several supplemental products that focus on teaching writing skills and preparing Texas students for the grade 4 STAAR Writing test. These products use different approaches, but each strives to improve students’ writing skills: [Read more…]
Empowering Writers’ Editing, Revising, and More is a supplemental writing product that supports writing instruction in grades K-8. Content is available in print format with some teaching materials available on CD-ROM. Instruction focuses on developing students’ effective use of language, including grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Learning List recently reviewed resources for grade 4. [Read more…]
Learning List recently reviewed WriteSteps, which is a supplemental stand-alone writing program for grades K-5. Resources address the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and state standards for writing and grammar and are available in print and digital formats. Instruction focuses on developing writing skills using the “6 Traits of Quality Writing” framework (i.e., ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and include a 7th trait, presentation).The CCSS are referenced throughout materials; pacing guides and correlation documents for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are provided. [Read more…]
Learning List has reviewed online resources for Pearson’s ReadyGEN. This comprehensive product supports literacy instruction in grades K-6. Content is available in print and online formats and supports instruction in blended learning environments. Instruction is inquiry-based and focuses on developing independent readers and writers with strong reading and listening comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills.
Across grade levels, ReadyGEN content is organized in thematic units (e.g., “Finding Courage”), modules, and lessons. Each module is built around an anchor text, a set of “Text Collection” supporting texts, and “Sleuth” close reading selections. Instruction uses theme-related literary and informational texts that present diverse characters and themes that support tolerance and understanding of differences. “Sleuth” is a structured approach to developing close reading skills.
Each module includes writing workshops focused on a particular type of writing (e.g., opinion, narrative). Workshops provide direct instruction in the writing process, opportunities for independent writing, and a “Shared Writing” activity in which students share their work with the class. Daily lessons also include “Reader’s and Writer’s Journal” activities in which students practice new vocabulary, close reading, and writing skills.
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Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Pearson.
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