Achieving literacy success involves a delicate balance between reading and writing instruction, but many tend to focus solely on reading development. Though there are a plethora of resources available that align with Science of Reading research and the best practices derived from it, you may find that it is not as easy to find resources that support to ease the transition to research-based writing instruction. If you are still in search of materials to help you improve writing instruction in your classroom, look no further; Writing A-Z is on the way! Built from the ground up, Writing A-Z is a flexible K-5 writing program designed to function as a stand-alone or supplemental writing program to complement any core literacy plan. Within this article we will take a deep dive into Writing A-Z, the key features that help simplify writing instruction for teachers, and the tools that make writing more fun for students.
Simplifying Writing Instruction for Teachers
Research has shown that teachers often do not feel prepared to deliver writing instruction, which can be attributed to a myriad of factors such as the emphasis being placed on reading instruction or the difficulty of finding time for writing instruction. To help instill the confidence necessary to adequately teach writing while reducing the necessary time investment, we’ve created Writing A-Z. Designed to help teachers transition to research-based writing instruction with ease, Writing A-Z saves teachers time by providing them all of the tools they need for writing instruction that are aligned with the latest research.
Writing A-Z is a curriculum that adapts to the teacher, instead of asking the teacher to adapt to it.
Of the game-changing features included in Writing A-Z, the following features are sure to make writing instruction even easier:
Flexible lesson plans: If you are looking for sequenced, explicit, standards-based, step-by-step lesson plans, look no further! Writing A-Z offers lesson plans that fit that criteria while combining genre writing with process writing instruction, allowing students to become exposed to a variety of writing types to expand their horizons and provide inspiration for creativity. Within these lesson plans you will also find helpful sample dialogues to guide classroom conversation, reference texts, graphic organizers, revising and editing checklists, tips for Social-emotional learning, differentiation, culturally responsive teaching, delivering instruction to ELL students, writing craft, and self-regulation, and “cheat sheets” for teachers.
In addition, each lesson plan follows the Gradual Release Model (I Do, We Do, You Do), which is organized into the following steps:
- Set the Stage: This step of the process presents an activity that helps teachers evaluate students’ prior knowledge, gauge personal interest levels, and pique students’ interest in the lesson.
- Teach (I Do): During this stage, teachers will explicitly teach and model a writing concept, skill, or strategy that students will apply to their piece during the next phase.
- Guided Practice (We Do): This step allows teachers to collaborate with students to apply what they have learned from the Teach or “I Do” section. During this time, students may also collaborate with their peers to gain perspective.
- Independent Practice (You Do): This is the time allotted for students to shine! During this block of time, students will write independently or collaborate with partners. As such, teachers will be able to provide immediate feedback, differentiate instruction, meet with small groups, and confer with students.
- Closure: This time allows students to share part of their writing or something they learned during class, helping them gain a deeper understanding of what they have learned.
Embedded Point-of-use Professional Development: Writing A-Z helps teachers confidently deliver writing instruction using expert-led professional development. Offered in a variety of formats and available on demand, the professional development included in Writing A-Z helps teachers grow in a way that fits their schedule and caters to the way they prefer to learn.
- Put into Practice Videos: View highlights around key topics, skills, and strategies presented by a literacy coach in 5 minutes or less, allowing you to remain informed while suiting your busy schedule.
- Listen and Learn Audio: Listen to podcast-like recordings on various topics that are relatable to teachers.
- Read the Research Articles: Learn about the latest research on pedagogy and best practices for writing instruction.
- Learn from Experts Videos: Gain insight from thought leaders and subject matter experts who provide an approachable deep dive into pedagogical best practices.
Pre- and Post-Assessments for Differentiated Instruction: Writing instruction should be as unique as your students are, which is why Writing A-Z makes it easy to differentiate instruction. Offering pre- and post-assessments for each genre unit (2-4), Writing A-Z makes it easier to monitor growth specific to the genre. Both the pre- and post-assessments present the same prompt and resources, creating a baseline to compare results to. Lastly, genre-specific rubrics are provided for each grade to inform instruction and display growth over the course of a unit.
Grammar Practice: As students engage in the writing process, gaps in understanding of grammar will certainly become apparent. To ensure that this doesn’t become an issue, Writing A-Z automatically assigns grammar skill practice via Grammar Packs. Grammar Packs include an instructional grammar video, 2-3 grammar interactivities, a feature that autoscores said activities, and data collection and reporting to inform instruction.
Making Writing Instruction More Fun for Students
With Writing A-Z, writing instruction no longer has to feel like a monotonous process of putting a pencil to paper. Created with student engagement in mind, Writing A-Z features tools to support student learning while making the writing process more fun!
WaLT (Writing and Learning Together): This digital writing notebook allows students to complete the writing process, including planning, 100% digitally from grades 2-5. As students enter each lesson, WaLT houses the resources needed to complete it such as graphic organizers, reference texts, revising and editing checklists, and a digital writing space. Though these tools are helpful on their own, Writing A-Z takes things a step further by offering a helpful side-by-side view. As students write in the workspace pictured below, they will be able to view their checklists and other helpful tools simultaneously, eliminating the cumbersome need to flip through multiple papers and books to complete a writing task.
In addition to this helpful view, WaLT allows teachers to provide timely and actionable feedback, helping students gain a deeper understanding of how they can continually improve.
Build-a-Book: Students can allow their imaginations to soar with Build-a-Book, a feature that allows students to create their own full-color, online books. Offering hundreds of images to spark ideas and help students illustrate their books, Build-a-Book allows students to become familiar with the writing process while igniting curiosity and creativity. Once complete, students are able to submit their work to their teacher for review and scoring and teachers are able to publish student writing in the Kids Writing Library, allowing their work to be viewed by their peers. Build-a-Book allows the writing process to become even more fun while building a solid foundation of knowledge about the writing process.
Utilizing the Kids A-Z Platform: Writing A-Z uses the same Kids A-Z platform that you know and love! Offering incentives to support progress tracking and motivation, Writing A-Z keeps students engaged in the writing process with ease.
Everything you Need to Support Writing Instruction
Reading and writing instruction are quite complementary when it comes to developing sound literacy skills. To help you and your classroom continue on your literacy journey, Writing A-Z offers all of the tools you need to transition to research-based writing instruction that will save you time, equip you with best practices and high-quality materials, and ensure that students remain engaged. As you consider which tools to use to act as or supplement your current writing program, we recommend you consider learning more about the capabilities of Writing A-Z.
Elevate Writing Instruction in Your Classroom With Writing A-Z!
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