Step Up To Writing

Teaching writing through consistency and planning.

Read Alouds – Effective Writing Instruction

Read Alouds should not be used as a filler, but because the book/story is well written. It should be done every day. Students need to know what good writing sounds like. While you are reading, ask the students to jot down thoughts or feelings about what is being read to them. This is NOT a retell activity. K1 students will be verbally telling teachers what should be written or drawn. Older students will do this on their own, either while the teacher is reading or after. Read alouds can be used to: • Point out transition words

1. Quick Sketch
The qui ck sket ch activity helps student understand a simple yet difficult to teach concept: wellwritten text paints pictures. A lot of kids just don’t get that. During this activity, the students only have a few seconds to sketch (no more than :45). While reading, stop in 3 places {beginning (for the setting, characters and into), middle (plot) and the end (conclusion)}. The sketches will illustrate each part of the written piece. This is a summary, NOT a retell. There are some key components to this strategy.
a. b. c. d. Use sparingly, once a week is fine. Don’t tell the students what to draw. You can collect this, but don’t grade it. This technique is used for narrative pieces only. Chapter books & storybooks are fine. Fables are awesome for this. e. K1 teacher does this activity and the kids tell the teacher grade, the kids can do their own. This is primarily because it takes the kids this age too long to draw. what to do, latter part of 1st

• Set students up for higher-level (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
Since consistency is a HUGE part of successful writing instruction, using the T-Chart frame is an effective way to do the quick draws. Here is an example of a quick draw frame for the fable The Lobster and the Crab (wonderful imagery and vocabulary in this story). The (b), (m) and (e) represent drawing boxes for the beginning, middle, and end. The notes on the right, are quick notes that should NOT be sentences that just detail main points and feelings.

T= The Lobster and the Crab B
- Lobster & Crab - stormy day - go sailing


- holes in boat - boat sank - crab upset


- took a walk - lobster consoled crab - crab was happy

Step Up to Writing

Read Alouds

2. Free Response
The free response strategy demonstrates how good writing keeps you engaged. The strategy teaches students to pay attention to the writing of others and how THEY CONNECT TO IT. This is a verbal activity for K-1 students (teachers scribe their comments). 2

Students need to understand that good writing is interesting and engaging. They need to be exposed to a TON of good writing so they can enjoy writing AND reading.
While reading aloud, be sure to stop reading whenever the text allows an opportunity for predicting. Simply ask the students to think for a moment, and write on their paper ‘I predict…” This is a simple way to ensure the students are engaged in the listening process. During free response time, students record their: • • • • • Feelings (K1) Connections (K1) Predictions (K1) Comments Questions

and 3



should do a :45 second free response at the 3 different stages of reading. Again, it is important to read books that are well written. The free response activity will help encourage the kids to write in an effort to paint a picture just as their favorite read-alouds did for them. This activity could be done in a journal or scrap paper. It is informal. It is an exercise in exploring the REACTIONS or RESPONSES one has to listening to a story.

Most K1 students will not have too much to say in the way of comments or questions, but they may. Remember, teachers generally scribe with the K1 students have to say simply because it will take too long to wait for that age group to write their own responses, which would take away from the flow of the story.

Good writers paint pictures in the minds of the readers. Students need to enjoy this part of listening and reading stories and aspire to do the same in their own writing.

Traci Clausen /


Step Up to Writing

Read Alouds

3. Summarizing
To do this activity use either a “burrito fold” paper (paper folded in thirds, like a burrito) or chart paper like the following example. This is an activity that should be done at least once a week and can be done collaboratively (especially in K1). Older students are expected to be able to summarize any piece of text. After practicing this since Kindergarten, it should be a simple concept for them. If we do our part in the earlier grades, students will be more successful in their future grade levels. This activity is: • • • To help students identify what is IMPORTANT to know vs. what is nice to know. NOT about writing as much as you can. An expository activity done on any text. Students are to note a topic sentence and main points ONLY (no conclusions nor opinions).

Idenity the Item What: Kind: Cinderella Fairy Tale

Action Word (VERB) describes

How a young girl’s life can change.

(What is the big idea?)

FINISH the Thought

Author: Brothers Grimm how a young girl’s life can change.

Summary: Cinderella, a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, describes

Traci Clausen / 3

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