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The place for writing in literacy

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In the latest push for student growth in literacy, are you seeing enough attention given to writing? And is the attention to writing direct instruction on writing procedures, or systematic application of those procedures? The answer to these two questions explains why it is important that we teachers of listening, reading, speaking, and writing need to talk. 

Join in the conversation. We’ll begin with how your students write as they learn. 

How are your students using writing to support learning? 

How do you supplement the current reading resources with a balance of writing practice? 

Do your teachers shy away from writing saying they don’t have time? 

How are you resisting the easy path of putting writing on the back burner?

I’m Warren Combs from Georgia, first from the University of Georgia, but more importantly, from my work with more than 1000 Georgia K-12 classrooms over the last three decades. This host of teachers and students has taught me so much about writing and learning that I could not have learned any other way. 


They showed me that …

My research on how humans acquire language (University of Minnesota) was right on target! When students practice using the language skills they are taught, those skills start showing up in their independent writing within a few weeks.

Short, frequent writing has an immediate and positive impact on reading comprehension. Reading instruction has not been shown to have a significant effect on growth in writing  (“The Reading-Writing Connection is Much Stronger in One Direction than the Other,”  Rona de la Rosa, Psychreg Journal, October 2018).

Douglas Reaves’ research concluded, “Few activities have a greater and more consistent positive impact on every other discipline than students’ nonfiction writing,” Six Critical School-Success Factors, 2006. 

So let’s begin the conversation about keeping writing in its rightful place in literacy lessons. 


Already we have evidence of how …

Easily listening, reading, speaking, and writing fit in every literacy lesson.

Student self-assessment saves teachers time and increases expectations of student performance.

Engaging and important it is for students to spend more time creating sentences than analyzing them.

Simple critical-thinking strategies ensure mastery of key course vocabulary in any unit of study.

Easy it is to focus on application in language, reading comprehension, or vocabulary lessons.


There will be more about this evidence to come.

This ongoing conversation will be a win-win for us all, especially for your students who face a long life with increasingly higher expectations for them as listeners, readers, speakers, and writers.

You’ll hear from me every other week. Signing off with the reminder …

In the writing comes the learning!

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