Model reading and writing

”Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.”

William Zinsser – On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction (p. 34).

Students need quality models of writing and reading strategies to survive in school, and the real world.

Show them how people read in the real world

Real world reading is much more than decoding and fluency. Model reading with all types of text, and in real world situations. For example, people read differently online, model and show the difference, and then have them write similar online styles.

Types of text to model

  • Textbooks
  • Authentic text
  • e-readers
  • Applications such as the Kindle Reader
  • PDFs
  • Online resources
  • Magazines
  • Research tools
  • Newspaper
  • News sites
  • Blogs
  • Search results
  • Storage applications that also create text documents, such as, GDrive, Dropbox, iCloud drive

Writing is imitation

Surround students with high quality writing samples daily.

Paper and online writing formats are different. Students need to understand their audience will read their writing differently depending on the situation. It is common to repurpose a writing to different formats and styles to best communicate a message effectively.

Reading and Language Arts assessments

Classroom reading assessments

Passage considerations

  • Rigor and complexity appropriate for current students
  • Measure learning in the context of current instruction and content knowledge
  • Students have the background knowledge to understand reading

Passages in context with instruction and background knowledge will more accurately measure student performance. If not, the resulting data will provide insufficient insight into learning, especially for English learners and students struggling reading classroom content.

Long passages rush completion

If the reading load is too much, students will rush to finish the assessment.

Balance text complexity

A balance of grade level text complexity best measures student achievement. If a passage pushes the boundary of complexity, look for indicators within the passage to help plan future instruction. Is the reading hard, but fair and using the appropriate content matter?

Make reading worth the student’s time

The length of the passage justifies the number of items used to assess the reading

Too many items exhaust a passage.

Longer passages support more questions, but using too many items will over-burden the text. A clue for overuse is cueing, one question helps a student answer another question.

Passages support more than one standard

Appropriate vocabulary in passages and items.
The passage mix should challenge students, but not all reading has to be complex. Challenging and complex passages will lower performance for students struggling with grade level reading.