This post is part of a series of blogs by READ 180 classroom teachers about their experiences both with the program and with students.
I recently discovered a dusty box filled with random keepsakes from when I was a teenager. Buried in this box were letters from my grandmother, letters from pen-pals, my diaries (eek!), and essays I had written in high school. Finding these handwritten treasures swept me back in time. I quickly read every single piece of writing, each of which sparked a different emotion within me.
Reading these pieces of writing also got me thinking about the importance of communicating with others in written form. I love how READ 180 teaches my students to write (and you can read a Q&A with one of my students about her experience with the program below). The purpose of writing may be to activate prior knowledge or demonstrate comprehension. Students may write to entertain, persuade, or argue a topic. Daily writing opportunities develop proficient readers and writers.
Writing in READ 180
READ 180 provides opportunities for daily writing. Because of these activities, I’ve watched students transform from average writers to proficient writers. The guidance and structure READ 180 provides teaches students to write with a purpose. Reflecting on the various forms of writing found in my keepsake box energized me to go back through our rBook to find different types of writing in READ 180:
- React and Write: Respond to text
- Do Now: Activate prior knowledge
- Wrap Up: Show what you know
- rBook Writing: Write to respond to a prompt
- Writing Zone: Respond to an interactive writing prompt
- Journal: Write reciprocally
- QuickWrites: Demonstrate comprehension of an independent reading book
Writing in the rBook
Each workshop has a writing section with a prompt related to the topic, and students work through the sequence of writing activities. In my classroom, the writing section usually takes two weeks. In the end, students have an exceptional piece of writing. We begin the writing section by analyzing the student model. Students then brainstorm ideas related to the writing prompt. Next, they begin working through the outline, taking time to focus on their main idea and details. After that, students write a rough draft. We spend time editing their essays by checking for spelling, punctuation, and the use of interesting words. I model for students how to read the rubric and check their writing for the listed components. Finally, students type or write a final copy.
I’ve found that the most helpful part of the writing section is the draft outline. The outline guides students through the different parts of their essay. The sentence starters help students write proficient sentences. I often pull out previous READ 180 rBooks to help students discover more sentence starters. When students have completed a draft, they read it both to themselves and to me, and I read it aloud to the student. This practice allows for editing of the draft. In the end, students write their final paper in cursive or type it out.