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3. Writing for Readers: Teaching Skills and Strategies
by Lucy Calkins and Natalie Louis

In this month-long unit of study, Lucy and Natalie present a series of lessons that help children focus on and refine their command of the conventions of language. Children learn to make their writing readable. They learn, for example, how to include more of the letters that are in words, how and where to leaves spaces, how punctuation works and how to write key words "in a snap."

  • PART ONE:
  • Inspiring Children to Write for Readers
  • PART TWO:
  • Recording Sounds, Words, Silences, and Meanings
  • PART THREE:
  • Focusing on High Frequency Words
  • PART FOUR:
  • Writing with Partners
  • Part Five:
  • Preparing for Publication
    PART ONE: Inspiring Children to Write for Readers
    Session I: Inspiring Children to Write for Readers
    In this first session, you will aim to convey the big picture of this new unit. Specifically, you'll inspire children to work harder and in new ways so that others can read their writing.
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    Session II: Examining Readable and Unreadable Writing
    You'll ask children in this session to look back on their own work and divide their writing into piles of more- and less-readable writing, noting the qualities of each.
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    PART TWO: Recording Sounds, Words, Silences, and Meanings
    Session III: Stretching and Writing Words
    In this session, you'll encourage your children to hear and record more sounds in the words they write.
    Session IV: Writing with Sight Words
    You'll remind children in this session that writers rely on sight words, not just stretching words and recording the sounds, to write with more fluency.
    Session V: Spacing Words
    In this session, you'll teach children that it's important to leave a finger-sized blank space when they hear no more sounds in a word.
    Session VI: Checking Content: Focused Small Moment Stories
    In this session, you'll remind writers that their content matters; specifically, you'll encourage them to write focused narratives.
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    PART THREE: Focusing on High Frequency Words
    Session VII: Learning More Sight Words
    You'll remind children in this session how to learn and write some words in a snap, without sounding them out.
    Session VIII: Using Personal Word Walls
    In this session, you'll teach your children how to use their individual copies of the word wall as a resource when they write.
    Session IX: Writing More, and More Clearly
    In this session, you'll remind writers that they need to write one story each day, across three pages, with a picture and a sentence or two on each page, while at the same time writing so that others can read it.
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    PART FOUR: Writing with Partners
    Session X: Writing for Partners
    The message in this session will be, "As you write, remember you are writing for a friend who will try to read your work."
    Session XI: Revising with Partners
    In this session, you will teach an opening minilesson to rally writers to write a lot and to write for readers. In a longer minilesson at the end of the session, you will teach partners to reread each other's writing to find and fill in missing words.
    Session XII: Peer-Editing: Adding More Sounds
    You will encourage your writers in this session to help each other include more letters in each word, making their writing easier to read.
    Session XIII: Peer-Editing: Spelling
    In this session, students in partnerships help each other spell word-wall words correctly and easily when they write.
    Session XIV: Peer-Editing: Punctuation
    In this session, you'll encourage children to write with at least a sentence on each page, and you'll help writers learn more about the placement of periods.
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    PART FIVE: Preparing for Publication
    Session XV: Selecting Easy-to-Read Writing
    You will ask your writers in this session to make an easy-to read pile and a hard-to-read pile of their writing once again, and once again talk about what makes writing easy to read.
    Session XVI: Sharing and Reflection: An Author's Celebration
    In the final session of this unit, your writers will share their stories with guests and classmates. Your children will receive congratulations for their work, and they will have a chance to talk about what they have learned to do to make writing easier to read.
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