Advancing Thinking Through Writing: How to Build and Deepen Students’ Content Knowledge
Writing is the most difficult thing we ask students to do—and for too long, we’ve assumed students will just “pick it up.” But only 25% of American students can write proficiently, and the percentage is far lower for those who are low-income or minority or have special needs. Most students need a logical sequence of writing activities that are embedded in the content of the curriculum and that break down the complex task of writing into manageable chunks. That kind of writing instruction builds students’ writing skills and content knowledge at the same time. We’ll provide an overview of the research base behind this approach along with an in-depth look at some of the strategies teachers can use to implement it.
Natalie Wexler is the co-author, with Judith C. Hochman, of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Jossey-Bass, 2017). Her articles and essays have appeared in a number of publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, and for several years she was the education editor of Greater Greater Washington, a communal blog in Washington, D.C. She chairs the board of The Writing Revolution, a nonprofit that disseminates the instructional method developed by Dr. Hochman.
Sherry Lewkowicz joined The Writing Revolution in 2016. She previously taught 11th grade English and Advanced Placement Literature for eight years at a Title I low-income international school where English Language Learners and mainstream students learned side by side in integrated classrooms. Additionally, she taught playwriting and coordinated her school’s arts programming. Sherry first discovered her passion for helping students improve their writing as an undergraduate Writing Fellow at Brown University, where she later earned her Masters in Teaching. She has a background in journalism, having written for the education website Chalkbeat.org and The Star Ledger.