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Position Statement on Writing

Brittany Simone McLean

North Carolina State University


Writing can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding subjects to teach and learn. Just as

students have individual personalities and backgrounds, they also have particular writing styles,

fears and needs when it comes to writing. As teachers, we must pay great attention to how

students’ writing is developing and how we can scaffold our instruction to ensure continued

growth. Another intimidating feat of teaching writing is avoiding the very easy possibility of

making students resent writing and the writing process. It is a teacher’s job to foster a love of

writing and to build students’ confidence level in their writing abilities. This position statement

seeks to provide strategies and teaching points to support teachers in facilitating productive and

intentional ways to build students’ writing capacity.

According to Graham, MacArthur and Fitzgerald (2013), a challenge of teaching young

children to write is “Deepening Linguistic Knowledge”. Students often come to school with a

variety of linguistic experiences based on their home lives and background. These differences

affect their literacy abilities in areas such as spelling and vocabulary, both of which are pivotal to

the successful development of writing. Teachers can “level the writing playing field” by using

academic vocabulary and introducing students to topics they otherwise would not be exposed to.

An effective strategy for promoting vocabulary development is dialogic reading. Dialogic

reading provides the opportunity for teachers to assist students expand their vocabulary, which in

turn strengthens their comprehension of the text they are reading. Dialogic reading also lends

itself to intentional use of informational texts that introduce students to unfamiliar subjects.

Opening their eyes to new material can help reinforce a strong foundation for writing skills.

Teachers should provide students with ample time to write. We know that writing is an

indicator of college readiness and that students should get practice with it early on. It is

important for teachers to help build students confidence in themselves as writers. Rowe (2017)

says that “Once children are identified as writers, they are motivated to notice how others write

in authentic situations and to use these ideas in their own texts”. Natural writing opportunities

should be provided along with structured writing to give students the skills of writing they need

to be successful. A recommendation made by the What Works Clearinghouse in regards to

effective writing instruction is to provide daily time for students to write. They also point out that

there are alternatives to a traditional writing block. Teachers can incorporate writing into all the

content areas in ways that are practical and relevant.

Many of the skills that students engage when writing are learned through reading

instruction. Just as many of the strategies they employ while reading are applicable to writing. It

is important for teachers to understand the implications and interconnectedness of reading and

writing. It is even more important that teachers apply this understanding to their instruction of

both reading and writing. Graham and Herbert (2010) say that there are 3 instructional writing

practices that can be effective in improving student reading. They are having students write

about what they read, teaching students the writing skills and processes that go into creating texts

and increasing how much students write. Planning instruction that bands these 3 practices

together can create powerful connections to reading and writing for students and can amplify

their learning in both areas. Rowe (2017) explains the connection this way, “Writing and

reading are two sides of the same coin. Writing builds foundational reading skills. Reading

builds understanding of content, processes and purposes of writing.” (p.31).

Though writing instruction can be a daunting task, there are many ways that teachers can

make their instruction more impactful and effective. When planning these lessons, teachers must

be intentional and thoughtful. Considering whom your students are, their backgrounds and their

linguistic differences can make a writing lesson more powerful. It is important for teachers to

know that students’ language and background knowledge have effects on their students’ writing

far after they have left their classroom. Providing time for students to write is important to

helping students grow in writing. Allowing them time to practice and see the purposes for

writing can help build their confidence as writers. Writing and reading share many foundational

skills and implications. Teachers should approach writing and reading instruction with a


that these subjects are much related and when used together can heavily influence each other in

profound ways. Writing instruction should be well-rounded, intentional and influential.

Employing the above ideas can help push a teacher’s lessons into the direction of achieving

student growth and building students interest in becoming writers.


Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Booth Olson, C., D’Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., &
Olinghouse, N. (2012). Teaching elementary school students to be effective writers: A
practice guide (NCEE 2012- 4058). Washington, DC: National Center for Education
Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of
Education. Retrieved from

Graham, S., and Hebert, M. A. (2010). Writing to read: Evidence for how writing can improve
reading. A Carnegie Corporation Time to Act Report. Washington, DC: Alliance for
Excellent Education.

Rowe, D.W.(2017). Early Writing Experiences. What every teacher and parents should know
about why young children need to write. Literacy Today, 35(2), 30-31.