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Christina Slavin

February 26, 2016


TWC 3: Reviewing Instructional Literature
Introduction
After researching articles related to my students preferences, interests and modes of
thinking, I found two articles that are directly related to my area of study. The content area that I
will focus on for this assignment is writing. My goal is to determine how I can increase Tracys
writing skills (Spacing, organization, and spelling) during writing time. I have learned that she
enjoys coloring, therefore, I would like to keep drawing as a component of kid writing for my
lesson. The articles below provide me with appropriate strategies on how to reach my goal with
Tracy and the rest of the class.
Article Annotations
The first article that I read is titled, Helping Kindergarten Writers Move Toward
Independence (Lamme, Fu, Johnson, & Savage, 2002). This article discusses how two
Kindergarten teachers, Julie and Debbie, utilize strategies in their classrooms to foster students
independence in writing. Lamme et al. (2002) explain that students benefit from having
discussions with their peers and the teacher about their writing because it helps them foster their
thinking. Although this article mentions that allowing students to draw before they write is an
important aspect of kid writing, it is also important for students to know that they do not always
have to draw before they write. Lamme et al. also explain the importance of teaching lettersound correspondence during writing instruction while utilizing sensory-based activities. Julie
and Debbie use snap cubes to represent the sounds needed within words which benefit the
kinesthetic and visual learners in their classroom. Students should always be encouraged to use
the resources around them as well. Lamme et al. (2002) also discuss how Kindergarten students
heavily rely on teachers to help them begin their writing. To decrease their dependence, the
teacher needs to explicitly remind students of the resources around them, including their peers.
Overall, we need to teach students how to be independent writers, allow students to check their
work through revision, and remind students that writing is an extension of our drawings.
The second article that I read is titled, Strategy Instruction During Word Study and
Interactive Writing Activities (Williams & Lundstrom, 2007). This article discusses the
importance of utilizing cultural tools during writing instruction. A cultural tool is described as
an object that helps increase a students writing ability. Williams and Lundstrom (2007) explain
that the use of the tools, such as a pen, ruler, space stick etc., should always be modeled by the
teacher. Interactive writing is described as a teacher and group of students sharing a pen (p.
205). The teacher is there for support as he or she is modeling the use of appropriate conventions
of print while the students are actively participating in writing the sentence. A kindergarten
teacher, Ruth, uses word study in her classroom alongside interactive writing. Her goal was for
her students to understand the patterns within words to help them when they are independently
writing in their journals. Utilizing interactive writing allows the students to be involved in the
spelling as they write it on their own dry erase boards or as they help the teacher write the words.
The teacher should explicitly point out how the patterns they are learning can help students write
other words in their journals. Overall, Williams & Lundstrom (2007) strongly believe that
providing word study instruction alongside writing instruction will increase students confidence
and ability when they write in their journals.

Reflection
Reviewing the articles enriched my study because it provided me with insight on what
other kindergarten educators are pursuing in their classrooms to increase their students writing
skills. Students in kindergarten are just beginning their journey as writers, and it is an important
time to provide explicit instruction on how to be an effective writer. Before researching articles, I
was not sure what areas of writing to focus on in my lesson. It confirmed my idea of including
instruction on how to sound out words during my formal writing lesson. I learned how utilizing
interactive writing can be an effective way for students to learn strategies that they can apply to
their writing journals.
Along with enriching my study, the articles also provided me with teaching strategies that
I can utilize during my lesson. Lamme et al. (2002) discuss the importance of utilizing cubes or
an object to represent sounds in words to help students independently spell during writing
instruction. I will definitely use snap cubes as a strategy to help students sound out words during
kid writing. When sending the students off to write independently, instead of me sounding out
the words to them, I can hand them snap cubes to inform them how many sounds are present in
the word. Along with spelling instruction, I will also model drawing a picture and think aloud
how that can help me extend the number of sentences that I have on my paper. Another strategy
that was mentioned was to explicitly remind students of their resources that are there for them to
use. I will create a poster to explicitly list the students resources that are available to them to use
while they are writing. I will have the students check the poster to ensure they used all of their
resources before asking an adult to help them begin writing.
Williams & Lundstrom (2007) also explain important strategies to use to increase
students writing abilities. A strategy that they mentioned in their article is to use dry-erase
boards during interactive writing activities so students can follow along with what is being
written on their own dry-erase board. The students can write a word that is being discussed at the
moment, or write another word that contains the same pattern as the word being discussed. This
article informed me of the benefits of utilizing interactive writing and ensuring the students are a
participant in writing when teaching whole group. I also learned that I should explicitly model
the tools or resources available to the students during whole group instruction and state how it
can help us become effective writers. If I use a spacing stick during my lesson, I will be sure to
explicitly model how to use it. To ensure students are active participants during interactive
writing activities, students can also come up and model using the tools that we have to use during
kid writing.
Researching the two articles supported my work with Tracy because my goal for her is to
increase her writing skills related to spacing, sounding out words, capitalization and punctuation.
Depending upon the results of my pre-assessment, I think I may choose three areas of Tracys
writing to assess. From reading the articles, I learned how to model appropriate spelling through
the use of word study and concrete models. Tracy is a visual/auditory learner, so the strategies
that I read about would work well for her as a learner. To allow Tracy to check her work, I can
provide her and the other students with a personal checklist for them to keep at their seats. This
could be considered the process of revision. Overall, my goal is for Tracy to transfer the skills I
teach her in my future lesson to her writing journal.

References

Lamme, L., Fu, D., Johnson, J., & Savage, D. (202). Helping kindergarten writers move toward
independence. Early Childhood Education Journal, 30(2), 73-79. Retrieved February 25,
2016.
Williams, C., & Lundstrom, R. P. (2007). Strategy instruction during word study and
interactive writing activities. The Reading Teacher, 61(3), 204-212. Retrieved February
25, 2016.