Table of Contents

2.5 The Reading and Writing Connection and Differentiating Instruction

The authors of Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading have found that reading and writing are inherently connected (Graham and Herbert, 2010). Used together, they generate ideas, are logically organized, and call upon students to think critically to visit and revisit text to make meaning. Done well, they are both active processes that help students to interact with text to comprehend, remember, and apply learning. Practice in either reading or writing supports and strengthens the other. The National Writing Project has published several articles to address these recommendations in Writing to Read .

By having students write informative/explanatory pieces about text, teachers can help students better understand the reading. Informative/explanatory writing is addressed in Writing Standard 2, which for grade 1 is written as:

CA.CCSS. ELA-Literacy.W.1.2: Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

Mrs. Kaiser’s students practiced this type of writing by responding to the prompt: Why are laws important? This question prompted students to draw evidence from their classroom reading, discussions, and other activities to support their answers.

However, because students, even in primary grade classrooms, represent a broad spectrum of English language and literacy proficiency levels, they need different levels of support to be able to produce writing based on their reading. One way to differentiate within a grade-level is to vary the difficulty in sentence frames and writing prompts.

“Why are laws important in a community?”

Level 1
Laws are important because ______________ (Students give one reason).

Level 2
Laws are important because ________________ and _______________. (Students give two reasons).

Level 3
Laws are important because _______________, _____________________, and ____________________. (Students give three answers)


Time to Try

Take a moment to look through the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy Writing Standards for Grade 1 on pp. 21–22 and Language Standards for Grade 1 on pages 32–35 to complete the journal questions that follow.



Sample responses

Addressing the Needs of All Students
For students with disabilities, UDL calls for instruction that allows for multiple means of action and expression ( National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2013). Having students dramatize their reading is one way to offer students a different way to express their learning. Students demonstrate understanding in a skit format to be acted out or by forming a tableau and describing how the scene illustrates the importance of rules and laws. It is important for students to determine how to dramatize their understanding themselves. The use of UDL strategies often benefits general education students and English learners as well.