WRITING K-12 Lessons and Curricula

Writing Graphic Organizers Using Graphic Organizers in your daily classroom lessons is mandatory to help students build analyzing strategies! Reading and writing at the deeper College and career ready levels is accomplished with methodical rigorous ...

Mentor Text to Teach Writing!
What are Mentor Texts? A mentor text is a quality piece of writing that is used to teach students writing structures and reading/writing strategies. Mentor text gives exemplars of writing with engaging ideas, proper conventions, ...

Student Writing Samples Scored CCSS Student Writing Samples Scored. CCSS ELA Writing Test Samples Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 | Informative, Explanatory, Narrative, Argument/Opinion, CCSS Student Writing Samples Scored

Bell Ringer Writing Prompts  Creative writing prompts that don't stink! "Fun writing prompts with a TWIST" Bellringer and early finishers activities that will make writing a fun activity. English bellringer activities that include literary elements, text features, ...

Common Core Writing Test | Opinion Essay Writing Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 ELA Writing Test | Printable PDF Common Core Writing Test Opinion Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 | Literary Response Informational Essay | Opinion | Compare and Contrast |

Reading Sage: Teaching Dyslexic Students to Write Writing instruction should always be geared to helping dyslexic students get their ideas on paper. Dyslexic students are going to hate writing if you focus on grammar, spelling and penmanship. Writing takes dyslexic students ...

Story Starters Writing Prompt Free PDF Story Starters for all GRADES! Use this free collection of Illustrated Stories Starters to teach writing in a fun imaginative way even to reluctant writers. The Story Starters help teach the foundations of story, plot, literary ...

5 Minute Writing Fluency Drills How To: Track Growth in Written Expression 5 Minute Writing Drills | Writing Fluency Probe Student Name: Grade: ______ Date: Correct Spelled Words Per Minute Goal: Christmas day I was so excited to open my new XBox ...

Writing Prompts Grade K-12  On Demand Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 Argument/Opinion Writing Prompts, Informative/Explanatory Writing Prompts, and Narrative Writing Prompts. Common Core Writing Prompts Test Prep ...

Opinion and Persuasive Writing Prompts ELA Writing Prompts Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Opinion and Persuasive Writing Prompts 501 Writing ... As a dyslexic learner I was unable to read, write, or decode words as a child, p,d,b and q were all the same letter.

Passing the FCAT 2.0 Writing Test - Reading Sage Passing the FCAT 2.0 Writing Assessments 2013: How to help your students pass the FCAT 2.0 writing assessment.The Passing scores for the FCAT 2.0 are not in place YET! The one hour test will give most students and ...

PARCC Writing Assessment | CCSS ELA Writing Assessments The CCSS ELA PARCC writing assessment is a dual assessment, measuring reading comprehension and depth of writing knowledge. Schools districts that have compartmentalized ELA instruction are on the wrong track to ...

How to Pass State Writing Test Students mast have time to prepare for state writing test, so if you are studying the night before your test, you need to study the ELA tier 3 academic testing vocabulary. The fastest way to prepare for the multiple choice English ....

THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT With journaling you integrate reading and writing, and you will find that you can relate to the story more completely, and experience every image, every conversation, every character, and every interesting adventure.

Helping Dyslexic Students Learn to Write! Learning to read, write and spell for many Dyslexic, Autistic, LD, and failing at-risk students is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest . Learning to write can be augmented and facilitated with the use of computers but many ...

5th Grade Common Core Writing Test Common Core Writing Test Common Core 5th Grade | CCSS ELA Grade 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Writing Test | Literary Response Informational Essay | Opinion | Compare and Contrast | Argumentative. Grade 5 Common Core Writing ...

Writing With Your Students I love to write funny whimsical stories with my students that include them in the narratives as the antagonist or protagonist. The fun and engaging writing activity starts with the class selecting a mentor text in the form of a fable, ...

Reading Sage: Zombies Writing Strategy Zombies Writing Strategy Acronym. HELP create a useful acronym that teaches students to slow down, plan, read and reread the writing prompt and test passages! ZOMBIES! Zone In On Your Prompt; Organize Your Opinions, ...


WRITING TEST 1-12

How to Pass any State Writing Test: Tips on Passing Writing Test Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

501 Writing Prompts 501 Writing Prompts! This book is designed to provide you with a variety of writing topics and model essays.
Most State standardized writing test are divided into two parts: Writing test part one, response to a prompt, writing test part two multiple choice English Language Arts test.

Who, What, Why and How to do your Best on The Multiple Choice Part?

Students mast have time to prepare for state writing test, so if you are studying the night before your test, you need to study the ELA tier 3 academic testing vocabulary.

The fastest way to prepare for the multiple choice English Language Arts portion of the test is playing games. Reading / ELA Vocabulary Games

Doing your Best on The Written Response Part! Practice with traditional writing outlines and test specific graphic organizers!

The secret to passing ALL State writing test is thinking like a apprehensive student, students need formative practice with test prep that give students quality feedback without the fear of failing. Daily practice with a well thought-out graphic organizers, close analytical reading and a mastery knowledge of key word outlines is essential, Using a similar or previously released writing test whenever possible will give students confidence when they must take the high stakes writing test on their own. School districts that administer High Stakes Test usually administer some form of summative assessments looking at the final scores, skipping all the writing steps that students need to know when writing competently. Formative writing test gives students and the teachers more ways to evaluate the entire writing process. My students practice and rehearse “writing success” with tools designed to make the writing process kid friendly.

Sit down with your team and design a graphic organizer that the kids can use. Start out with a simplified version and gradually make it more structured and competent.

The students in my class use a simple STEAL chart with pictures of lips for the S in speech, a picture of a brain for the T in thoughts and so on. Again the secret is formative assessment with lots of feedback and a graphic organizer to match the assessment.

In Short! Students must practice using a systematic graphic organizer that covers expository, persuasive, and or narrative writing depending on the test they take. Students must also learn the critical tier 3 vocabulary that they will find on the multiple choice section of the writing test. Students must be given the tools to succeed!

I use a STEAL Characterization chart to enhance the students understanding of the structures of writing whenever possible and to prepare students for state testing. My students have to take three normed writing assessment every year. Teaching them to use a systematic graphic organizer and sorry to say formulaic writing process has gained my students some of the highest writing scores in the state! Our class has the highest number of students that exceed and meets compared to other Title one schools. The past 4 years my students have had an amazing passing rate of 94% on state writing test. I also expose my students daily to the academic writing vocabulary.

Best Practices in the Teaching of Writing
A Prezi on Expository writing 4th Grade Expository Benchmark Model
Six Traits Writers Work Shop Handbook


Types of Writing Test

Narrative writing is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events in a story. The word "story" may be used as a synonym of "narrative", but can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a character within a larger narrative.

Expository writing is a type of writing where the purpose is to inform, describe, explain, or define the author's subject to the reader. Expository text is meant to deposit information and is the most frequently used type of writing by students in colleges, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and universities. A well-written exposition remains focused on its topic and lists events in chronological order. Examples of expository writing include driving directions and instructions on performing a task. Key words such as first, after, next, then, last, before that, and usually signal sequential writing. Second-person instructions with "you" are acceptable.However, the use of first-person pronouns should be avoided ( For example, I, I think etc...). Expository essays should not reveal the opinion of the writer.

Persuasive writing, also referred to as a creative writing or an argument, is a piece of writing in which the writer uses words to convince the reader of his/her view regarding an issue. Persuasive writing sometimes involves convincing the reader to perform an action, or it may simply consist of an argument(s) convincing the reader of the writer’s point of view. Persuasive writing is one of the most used writing types in the world. Persuasive writers employ many techniques to improve their argument and show support for their claim. Simply put, persuasive writing is "an essay that offers and supports an opinion".

Please use the sample STEAL chart below or design your own to start getting your students ready to pass the FCAT, CRCT, MCAS, PASS, CRT, AIMS, STAAR, TAKS, PAWS, STA 10, CSAP, CMT, ISTEP, SOL, NJ ASK, NC EOG, OAA, ... Writing Test this spring.


Reading Sage: Story Starters Writing Prompt
Free PDF Story Starters for all GRADES! Use this free collection of Illustrated Stories Starters to teach writing in a fun imaginative way even to reluctant writers. The Story Starters help teach the foundations of story, plot, literary ...


Passing the FCAT 2.0 Writing Test - Reading Sage - Blogger
Passing the FCAT 2.0 Writing Assessments 2013: How to help your students pass the FCAT 2.0 writing assessment.The Passing scores for the FCAT 2.0 are not in place YET! The one hour test will give most students and ...


Passing the MEAP Writing Assessments 2012-2013
The MEAP writing test is made up of two parts, the student responses to WRITING prompts, graphic organizers, and written response and a multiple choice writing conventions test. Two areas that need equal attention and ...


Reading Sage: JOURNAL WRITING: Daily Journal Writing
literature and strengthening understanding of the writing process at the same time. With journaling you integrate reading and writing, and you will find that you can relate to the story more completely, and experience every ...

CCSS Grammar Worksheets
501 GRAMMAR AND WRITING QUESTIONS
Grammar Worksheets Secondary School
501 Reading Comprehension Questions
501 Critical Reading Questions
501 Sentence Completion Questions
101 worksheets for English Grammar


Academic ELA Vocabulary Tier 3 Writing Glossary
PDF
Word

Develop your own graphic organizers that help your students master persuasive/expository/personal narrative writing. 

“The Silver Bullet” STEAL Graphic Organizer | Characterization Chart
96% Meets or Exceeds on State Writing Test | 25% Exceeding on State Writing Test 
EXPOSITION| RISING ACTION| CLIMAX| FALLING ACTION| RESOLUTION 
Narrative and a bit of Expressive writing  
WORD CHOICE
Verbs and Adverbs
EXPOSITION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!  What: My first roller coaster ride Who:I am Alone Why: My parents are afraid to ride the Matterhorn
Topic Sentence It introduces the main idea of the paragraph
WORD CHOICE
Nouns and Adjectives
Debated decided dedicated valued chose cleaned
S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue
Speech What does the character say (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?
swift ancient modern bitter sweet alert sane
vaulted viewed visualized volunteered Captured cared for carried caught categorized challenged
T – thoughts/feelings/attitudes
Thoughts What is important about the character’s thoughts and feelings (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?
attractive sticky fuzzy giant fresh  graceful harsh whispering puny harsh noisy quiet shrill
championed changed checked cleared closed coached commanded commended
E – emotions/effects on others
Effect How do other characters feel or behave or react to the characters?
teeny massive careful cheap expensive rainy crystal sore dangerous combative
concentrated confronted constructed consulted continued controlled convinced cooperated copied corrected counseled
A – actions
Actions What does the character do? How does the character behave?
weary dull drab dim aggressive mellow fancy excited scared filthy superior lazy excited hungry crazy
created customized joined judged observed tackled talked targeted tasted taught obtained offered translated


L – looks/ settings/ imagery/ what
Looks What do you see? What do the characters look like? How does the character dress?
poor rich busy anxious steep skinny petite tiny miniscule salty delicious terrible dead alive huge tremendous elderly handsome ugly beautiful shiny
WORD CHOICE
Verbs and Adverbs

RISING ACTION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!
WORD CHOICE
Nouns and Adjectives

S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue


T – thoughts/feelings


E – effects/emotions on others


A – actions


L – looks/ settings

WORD CHOICE
Verbs and Adverbs
RISING ACTION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!
WORD CHOICE
Nouns and Adjectives

S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue


T – thoughts/feelings


E – effects/emotions on others


A – actions


L – looks/ settings



“The Silver Bullet II” STEAL Students Graphic Organizer
96% Meets or Exceeds on State Writing Test | 25% Exceeding on State Writing Test

Expository Writing with a bit of Narrative to meet the Six Traits of Writing
 Narrative with a bit of Expository Structures
WORD CHOICE

INTRODUCTION Topic Sentence It introduces the main idea of the paragraph
Ideas

POINT #1 (SUPPORTING DETAIL)
S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue
elaboration (mini-story)Speech What are people saying (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?


POINT #2 (SUPPORTING DETAIL)
T – thoughts/feelings/attitudes
elaboration (mini-story)
Thoughts What is important about the thoughts and feelings (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?


POINT #3 (SUPPORTING DETAIL)
E –effects on others / emotions/
elaboration (mini-story)
Effect How do other characters feel or behave or react to the characters?


POINT #4 (SUPPORTING DETAIL)
A – actions
Actions What are people doing? What are their actions? How does the character behave?


POINT #5 (SUPPORTING DETAIL)
L – looks/ settings/ imagery/
Looks What do you see? What do the events and action look like?


CONCLUSION / Transitions



Persuasive Essay Graphic Organizer
HOTEL Chart

Prompt Topic

Should all kids go to academic summer camp?

Hook |
pester / persuade / plea
Academic summer camps increases academic performance, resiliency, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.
Opinion |
judgment / attitude / belief
Giving all students a leg up is critical if we want to remain a first world nation not slide into a third world nation.
Thoughts |thoughts/feelings/attitudes
We need to find a way that all students have the opportunity to attend summer camp or “SuperCamp” not just a very small percentage of rich children.
Emotions |emotions/effects on others
Effect

If we are going to sentence our children to 16 years of school we should have the decency to make it a truly amazing 16 years not just testing factories.
Logic |deduce/convince/  reason 
The new Common Core Standards are designed to help bridge the academic achievement gap and prepare US students for the increasingly complex information age but they are just words if students are not exposed to many academic opportunities.


Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer
Compare/Contrast Graphic Organizer
Concept Definition Map Graphic Organizer
Drawing Conclusions Graphic Organizer
Identifying Author’s Purpose Graphic Organizer
Main Idea and Supporting Details Graphic Organizer
Making Inferences Graphic Organizer
Summarizing Graphic Organizer
Clock
Cluster/Word Web 1
Cluster/Word Web 2
Cluster/Word Web 3
Describing Wheel
E-Chart
Fact and Opinion
Five W's Chart
Flow Chart
Four-Column Chart
Garden Gate
Goal-Reasons Web
Ice-Cream Cone
Idea Rake
Idea Wheel
Inverted Triangle
ISP Chart
(Information, Sources, Page)

KWL Chart
KWS Chart
Ladder
Observation Chart
Persuasion Map
Planning Chart
Problem-Solution Chart
Sandwich
Sense Chart
Sequence Chart
Spider Map
Step-by-Step Chart
Story Map 1
Story Map 2
Story Map 3
T-Chart
Ticktacktoe
Time Line
Time-Order Chart
Tree Chart
Venn Diagram

CCSS ELA Response to Literature | Response to Literature Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8

Purpose of Daily Academic Reading Journals: Student Response to Literature
  • Daily Response to Literature lessons supports the lowest quartile students as they learn the challenging CCSS ELA reading and writing curriculum. 
  • Daily Response to Literature lessons accelerates the student’s acquisition of the reading process, tier 1, 2, and 3 vocabularies, reading comprehension, and a higher order of thinking that looks deeper into the writing processes. 
  • Daily Response to Literature lessons accelerates the student’s acquisition/understanding of the Six Traits of Writing, develops academic communication skills that are critical for transitioning to the new CCSS ELA standards.
Response to Literature or academic journaling is an essential instructional tool. I use Response to Literature or reading journals to: 1) encourage a life-long love of reading and writing; 2 ) teach the structures and strategies of close reading, the close writing process "Response to Literature" and Socratic seminar/inquiry; 3) teach students to be academic risk-takers, motivated learners, virtuous thinkers, curious questioners, academically responsible and interdependent learners; 4) accelerate the acquisition of the CCSS ELA Response to Literature process; and 5) turn students great potential into real academic writing achievement.

Mentor Text to Teach Reading and Writing!

Why Use Mentor Text to Teach Writing! Mentor Text Will Teach Readers and Writers to Analyze and Deepen Understanding of All Aspects of Written Communication.

What are Mentor Texts? A mentor text is a quality piece of writing that is used to teach students writing structures and reading/writing strategies. Mentor text gives exemplars of writing with engaging ideas, proper conventions, varied structures and types, rhetorical modes, organization, combining styles of writing or any aspect or domain of writing.

Teachers, parents and students that need to pass or exceed yearly standardized writing assessments must use mentor text with targeted skills based writing composition lessons that are explicitly taught and mastered by students. Analysing mentor text using keyword outlines or graphic organizers are a great tool to give students the skills they need to succeed on writing assessments. The best writing practice is to spiral through writing composition structures all year to prepare students for the ever more difficult State writing assessments.

Nobody but a reader ever became a writer.

Close reading is the careful, analytical, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text to enhance understanding and reading comprehension. Such close reading places great emphasis on the single particular over the general, paying close attention to individual words, syntax, and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they are read. 

My favorite close reading strategy is selecting key words from a mentor text and organizing them into a key word outline. This strategy will help your students build reading comprehension strategies and speed writing competency. The close reading strategy can be used for all mentor text, text excerpts, short stories, paragraph or poem: Select three or four key words from each sentence that will help you understand, comprehend and remember the content of that sentence. These words should be selected based on interest and importance to the reader and don't have to be teacher directed. Fill your key word outline with you three words from each sentence, separated by commas, on line number one of the key word outline. see model below
   After the reader selects 1-4 key words from each sentence or line of text and puts them in a key word outline. They put the original text away and practice summarizing what they just read. After summarizing the passage orally with a partner or the teacher they create a new paragraph from the key word outline of the original text. When students practice summarizing, rewriting or retelling the story, ideas, facts, opinions from their key word outline they vastly improve reading comprehension. 

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The fable Summary

The tale concerns a shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. When one actually does appear and the boy again calls for help, the villagers believe that it is another false alarm and the sheep (or, in some versions of the story, the boy) are eaten by the wolf.


shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep”; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock

Example of Key Word Outline

I. shepherd-boywatched , sheep

   1. brought, villagers, crying, Wolf!

   2. neighborslaughed, them 

   3. Wolftruly, come

   4. Shepherd-boyshouted, terror

   5. Wolf, killing, sheep

   6. his, criesassistance

   7. Wolf. lacerated, destroyed, flock

Use the keyword outline provided or write your own and rewrite the story in your own words and post it to the blog!

Review:
An efficacious close reading strategy in any form starts with a mentor text (short story, expository text or poem) that might be a few hundred words up to a maximum of a thousand words. The reader or teacher reads a quality mentor text with a stated purpose before reading the text. The reader or teacher selects a paragraph that they rank as important, interesting or containing a great example of writing and practice and model close reading strategies. 

  1. Introduction/Topic/Opener 
    1. Select 1-4 key words from each sentence or line of text
    2. Select 1-3 key words from each sentence
    3. Select 1-3 key words from each sentence 
    4. Select 1-3 key words from each sentence
      1. Key Word Questions or Ideas 
      2. Whom/which/who/whose
      3. What
      4. Where
      5. When
      6. Why
      7. How
      8. Who
      9. Conflict
      10. Problem
      11. Best? Worst?
      12. Facts
      13. Opinions
      14. ...
      15. ...

A U T O B I O G R A P H Y

OF

B E N J A M I N

F R A N K L I N

How did  B E N J A M I N F R A N K L I N Lear to Write? 

"He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready plenty of words, and sometimes, as I thought, bore me down more by his fluency than by the strength of his reasons. As we parted without settling the point, and were not to see one another again for some time, I sat down to put my arguments in writing, which I copied fair and sent to him. He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters of a side had passed, when my father happened to find my papers and read them. Without entering into the discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the manner of my writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances. I saw the justice of his remarks, and thence grew more attentive to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at improvement.

About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method of the language, and this encouraged me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious. My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my father used to exact of me when I was under his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, thought I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it."



Writing With Mentor Texts Webinar
Mentor Texts: The 7 Elements of a Differentiated Writing Lesson
20 Strategies to Teach Text Structure
Show Me How! Using Mentor Test to Guild Readers and Writers

Frequent writing about what you have read can develop and expand comprehension and vocabulary.

Expressing important ideas in writing helps the student organize ideas and strengthens connections to vocabulary.

Well-taught writing can help students' reading, Poorly taught writing can hinder students' readin
g

Response to literature Process for Intermediate Students Abstract
My students use response to literature journals daily during close reading instruction and Socratic inquiry. It begins with teaching students to select quality/challenging non-fiction, fiction, poetry, prose, or any well-written literature suitable for analysis. Next, we examine author’s purpose, literary elements, poetic devices or any other ELA domain through a collaborative Socratic inquiry process. Reading and writing instruction in my opinion should be used to build critical and strategic thinking and is always taught holistically in my class. We move into the complex task/skill of responding to a set of literary criterion “The TEST” that may be as simple as predicting the next set of events, adding or continuing the authors ideas, analytical summarization or analysis of complex literary elements. The students work with a partner or as a whole class to develop strategic graphic organizers, summarizing important facts, evaluating characters' opinions, identifying turning points, compare or contrast, evaluating the author's points of view, identifying author’s main ideas, noting key literary details, and choosing pertinent quotations. All the reading and writing instruction is focused through the lens of formative inquiry and enrichment to reinforce critical thinking, reading comprehension and the writing process. 

Part one is creating the Response to literature Journalor reading journals: The Reading Journals consists of close reading strategies, graphic organizers, interesting or important vocabulary, important sequential details, or Socratic questions that students want to ask during the weekly teacher conference. Tier 2 words are also listed and identified plus ten to fifteen detailed notes on the key literary elements are recorded for each response to literature by each student. Students then summarize the main ideas, authors’ purpose or other literary areas that are being analyzed. The use of the Six Traits Rubrics, Socratic seminar, cooperative structures and strategies and traditional paragraph structure instruction are modeled throughout the process. Response to literature can best be taught using a collaborative or cooperative learning model. Evaluation of author's main purpose or any other complex concept must be modeled and modeled in a collaborative format. The younger students always start with the basics of who, what, where, when, why and how! More advanced students create literary topics of discussion to share with student colleagues and teacher during the Socratic seminar. Advanced students may work independently and do additional analysis, critiques, margin notes, re-imagining a new literary ending, character summaries, connections they have made between other genres, books or poems.

Students conference with the teacher weekly and use their reading journals as an ongoing learning portfolio and as a collaborative tool with other students. The weekly conferences and journals are also used to insure that students are accountable, participating/collaborating and completing learning task and comprehending the assigned readings. An extended conference is scheduled as needed to support students who are not making gains in the close reading and “close” writing processes. Throughout this process, students are always given suggestions on how to improve their close reading skills, reading comprehension, modeled response to literature strategies, cooperative writing opportunities and improve their critical and strategic thinking.

By the end of the first 20 days of my Title I 4th grade class, students are often completing two full pages of responses for each selected close reading passage and Socratic seminar. The goal at this point is to have completed literary responses that are rich, exact, with cogent connections to the explicit stated goal of the literary response. Students are constantly instructed on how to work collaboratively, and build interdependent and independent work skills. All instruction is integrate with a Finnish model of instruction the to build a classroom team that can succeed and exceed. The reading process and the writing process must be taught as one, “One is none and two is one!” The ultimate goal is for students to become motivated, independent learners, exactly the type of students we want them to be.

Part two in this process includes revising, drafting, and editing each of the literary responses. The students collaborate with peers in an informal read aloud to a partner and the sharing of pre-edited responses. The students give each other feedback and as always when something is read aloud they find errors.  The teacher can participate as a listening only letting the student read their response out loud and giving verbal feedback.  Rereading editing and rereading gives students more freedom to try new things without the fear of failure. Using a sounding board model builds collaboration and can usually find structural errors and quality issues in a more formative learning environment. Students can review the author's main ideas, important facts, character development, settings, events, and turning points in the fear free writing zone.

Formative Conferences
Quick formative conferences, or spot checks, can be used at any time to check student’s on-task behavior, collaboration, understanding and accountability. Teachers or cooperative teams can do quick conferences to insure students comprehend the passage, vocabulary, important facts, literary devices, author’s ideas/purpose, main ideas, important outcomes/turning points, characters, settings, events, and even enjoyment. Students who show poor reading skills, collaborative skills, focus, and or comprehension of the literature are placed with a competent student, teacher, tutor or classroom parent. Students are asked to cooperate, collaborate and develop critical academic skills like taking quality notes, developing cogent questions, comprehending the literature they read, talking with peers using complete sentences, discussing academic ideas with the class, and as a teacher I am always looking for role models that demonstrate these skills to praise in front of the class. Students who fail to find the success are reinstructed one-on-one in an extended conference and are ask to model expected outcomes with other strong students.

Teachable Moments
Unknown vocabulary and important background information is explained to the entire class in detail to insure deeper meaning and understanding. Students are asked to never erase notes, responses, summaries, but to salvage what they have and use the margins for new ideas. The final part of the response to literature process is looking for teachable moments that the class can use to extended learning and critical thinking.


Value of Response to Literature Lessons | Read and Response Journaling

Journaling as you read is the most effective way of understanding a work of literature and strengthening understanding of the writing process at the same time. With journaling you integrate reading and writing, and you will find that you can relate to the story more completely, and experience every image, every conversation, every character, and every interesting adventure. Avoid hasty reading or skimming because it can prevent you from understanding the meaning of the book as a whole. Investigate everything fully; be prepared to learn and be inspired. Never skip a word you don’t know. Stop! Write it down! Seek the meaning! If you do skip the meaning, you are leaving a great treasure behind. Seek those characteristics that skilled writers observe in real life and integrate them into your journals, essays, letters and reports: perseverance, conflict, justice, injustice, challenge, courage, character, adversity, and apprehension. Engaging writing includes exciting precise vocabulary, captivating dialogue, well organized plot, varied complex sentences, and grammatically refined prose with fresh original ideas. When you discover the deeper meaning and relate it to the content, you'll be on your way to understanding and loving books. Using great works of literature to examine, and compare and contrast with your own writing, will build knowledge of how to write great passages and prose yourself.


Homework Journals
Keep a response journal (homework journal) for all study areas, including art, music, science, social studies, and even field trips. Write your feelings, first impressions, funny moments, jokes, sketches, relationships, questions, quotations, and great topic sentences-anything that helps you start to look at professional writing structure. Learn to truly read and then learn to truly write.

Conclusion

Writing about reading makes students more conscious of making meaning as readers. It gives them insight into the reading and writing processes. Writing about reading accelerates, reinforces, and streamlines vocabulary acquisition and retention. Writing about reading makes struggling students more secure
and comfortable to write with the support of the author’s vocabulary and paragraphs. Writing about reading makes students more independent,competent, motivated, and involved in all forms of academic text.

Writing about reading gives students ideas for their own texts. They reread and reflect upon their writing, which sparks fuller learning. Writing about reading supports students to take charge of their learning and make connections between different areas of learning. Seeing teachers and parents write in their own reading journals and sharing their writing reinforces the vital importance of writing for life-long learning. It also emphasizes the public nature of writing. Journal coaching supports the students as they reach for
more complexity in their reading and writing. Journal coaching supports the students as they acquire the vocabulary and background knowledge to truly understand and enjoy the reading.