Writing about Reading
When I am learning anything new, I take more than the average time to understand the new concept to its fidelity. Recently, a student’s mom gave me a cutting of a plumeria plant. She explained that I would need to place it in a pot with cactus soil and water it vigorously every four days. The cutting sat on my coffee table for a few days before I gathered the necessary materials to plant it. Would you like to know the most current update on the cutting? It’s inside a pot with soil from my backyard.
It comes as no surprise that my approximation is the same with the new curriculum. For instance, our school site began using Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) three years ago, and it has taken me nearly that long to teach writing about reading. Leveled Literacy Intervention is a tier 2 reading intervention curriculum by Fountas and Pinnell and supports readers from K-5. Like all well-written curriculum, the progression for writing about reading is methodical in its planning and meets the needs of the students in front of me.
Interactive writing is when the teacher and students compose a simple response to the text they have read. The teacher shares the pen with students, calling students up to the chart paper to spell high-frequency words and approximate spelling content-related vocabulary.
The Power in Interactive Writing
Interactive writing does not live just inside reading intervention time. It can be done in response to a class read-aloud, a message students may want to compose, or practice letter writing skills. What makes it the most effective is it is for an authentic purpose. Below is an interactive writing process I learned while at the Phonics Institute with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
The next level up the progression for writing about reading is dictated writing. After a text has been read, the teacher says two to three sentences about the text and students write down what the teacher has said in their writing notebooks. The teacher says an entire sentence then says it word by word. For any words that are unknown to students, The benefits of dictated writing are that the students have a feel of proficient writing.
Finally, independent writing is when students compose their own responses to the text they have read. It is accompanied by the teacher facilitating a discussion about the text that has been read. When it is needed, the teacher provides word-solving strategies for any unknown words.
What I have come to realize is that any new learning takes time. However, there is a potency in helping students flourish in their literacy when using a high-leverage curriculum to its fidelity.