Strategies to Teach Writing in Grades 3–12: Hear from the Experts

3 Min Read
Middle school writing strategies

Teaching writing can be intimidating, even for ELA teachers. But with the right tools and knowledge, they can help students achieve success. Research shows that teachers’ attitudes toward writing can rub off on their students. According to Jennifer Laffin, founder of Teach Write LLC, a good instructional strategy is for educators to become “teacher-writers.”

That means you should write every day with your students. And don’t be afraid to model your own writing in front of them. Surrounded by a community of fellow writers, students will see that it’s okay to struggle and be more willing to stretch their skills. This relationship-building based on mutual discomfort and earned trust will make the writing process more manageable for you and your students. We as educators also need to continually nudge ourselves out of our comfort zones to be the best teachers we can be for our students.

We all know teaching writing is challenging, but if you can impart a few useful strategies, then you are halfway there. Tune into these six podcasts from nationally acclaimed writing experts to find your stride when it comes to writing instruction for Grades 3-12.

Expert Writing Strategies for Teachers

Join Jennifer Serravallo, educational consultant and New York Times bestselling author of reading and writing professional development books published by Heinemann, as she shares ways to help ALL students (including English learners) find their voice and develop confidence.


Listen to Kasey Bell—author of Shake Up Learning, former middle school teacher, international speaker, blogger, podcaster, and Google Certified Trainer—for ideas on how to create a community of writers. Hint: Implement peer review and give students an authentic audience so they care about what they write.


Get insights from Shaelynn Farnsworth, national director of educator outreach and success at the News Literacy Project, as she demonstrates approaches for teaching cross-curricular writing using the Question Formulation Technique (QFT).


Hear from Brian Kissel, author of When Writers Drive the Workshop: Honoring Young Voices and Bold Choices and professor of literacy and elementary education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who discusses how to confer with students, get writing feedback, and create an authentic audience. His strategy is to ask three main questions: Who are you writing for? Why are you writing this? How can I help?


Get tips from Jennifer Ansbach, author of Take Charge of Your Teacher Evaluation and high school English teacher in New Jersey, on using mentor texts as exemplars. Inspire students to become a community by writing for each other and their families.


Get relevant and timely information from Rachelle Dene Poth, educator and author of The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead, on creating adaptable students with 21st-century literacy skills and the five Cs (collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and character).


After hearing from these writing experts, we hope you feel inspired to challenge yourself to try new instructional strategies. Be the example you want to see in your students; show them that it’s okay to struggle with writing.

By stepping a little out of our comfort zone, we grow a little more as writers and learners. Isn’t that our job as educators—to demonstrate that we can never stop learning?


Looking to teach the writing process, help students produce authentic text, and prepare students for writing tasks they will encounter in college or career? Check out this special offer from HMH Literacy Solutions.

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