Writers ARE Readers: A Review and a Giveaway

Laminack_WritersAreReadersAs writing teachers, we know that writing and reading are undeniably linked in our teaching and within student learning. Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth make this abundantly clear in their newest book, Writers ARE Readers: Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities, a Heinemann publication. What Reba and Lester have done is shown us how we can intricately weave together the processes in reading and relate them to our writing process.

As I read this book, I felt like Reba, Lester and I were having a conversation. Their approach is easily digestible and informative. I loved the ease in which I was able to take a lesson and use it within my classroom, feeling supported and coached by their words.

The book is broken into three main sections.

Section one tackles text structure and organization broken into chapters on the five basic structures:

  • Description
  • Sequence
  • Problem and Solution
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Cause and Effect

Section two takes on weaving meaning with chapters focused on six of the most common comprehension strategies:

  • Inferring
  • Summarizing
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing
  • Determining Importance
  • Making Connections

The third and final section discusses common story elements:

  • Character
  • Setting
  • Plot (with attention to conflict and tension)
  • Perspective and Point of View

Within each of these chapters, there is a sample of a reading lesson(s) followed by a “flipped” writing lesson. The writing lesson takes the concept that has been explored in the reading and demonstrates how students can apply the item in their own writing. Each chapter highlights student writing samples as well as additional mentor texts.

In my classroom, I am getting ready to begin an information writing unit. I decided to dip my toe in a little early with a few students and share the first lesson from Writers ARE Readers that dealt with description. We started by exploring a few books that I highlighted in last week’s post during the information writing blog series. Students noticed that often authors start sections of text with a heading or big idea to peak the reader’s interest. The section of text then goes in depth to describe the information. As writers, we then focused in on our topics and generated lists of big ideas we wanted to tackle. Patrick, a third grader, had some ideas related to football and made a list for his plan. He then took those big ideas and turned them into questions for the start of each paragraph. We discussed why description is so important and how it informs the reader of a deeper understanding of our topics. Here is his “work in progress.”

information writing_1

information writing 2

Patrick is in the beginning stages of a detailed description. He is off to a good start considering we haven’t begun the information unit. I’m looking forward to revisiting this lesson again to see what he takes on next.

I hope you will seek out this book that intertwines the teaching of reading and writing with ease. Better yet, comment below and maybe you will win a copy!

Giveaway Information:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Writers ARE Readers, a Heinemann publication. Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy please leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, November 17th  at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose name I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Monday, November 23rd.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Heinemann will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS –WRITERS ARE READERS. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.