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writing in response to informational texts

When Written Responses Lose Their Way

It’s frequently true. We have grand conversations about engaging nonfiction and then when our students write in response…well, the struggle is REAL. Here are some approaches I’ve found helpful in grades 2-6 — provide clear purpose for writing, respond to just a part of a text, plan for what they will write, engage students in …Read more

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Hey, Mom! Guided Writing

“Who will you tell?” This is a conversation I’ve started having with students at the guided reading table before they write in response to an informational source. I usually start by saying something like the following: When you go home tonight and your mom asks about school, you could just say, “It was okay” OR …Read more

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Orally rehearsing with key words can boost writing

Do your students struggle to compose sentences about nonfiction topics that make sense or sound right? Do they lack structure at the sentence and paragraph level? Here’s a few tricks I’ve been trying with small groups of late-early and transitional stage readers. As part of a conversation generate key words they will use to orally …Read more

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Can they explain the main idea statement?

Can your students explain what their main idea statement means? Is a superficial understanding or misunderstanding of the main idea impacting their ability to identify or explain supporting details? We may need to give students time to unpack the main idea.  A few suggestions for helping students unpack a main idea statement: 1. Ask them …Read more

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Creative Responses Analyzed – Persuasive Letter from the Roots to the Plant

A few posts ago I wrote about shaking up how we ask students to write in response to texts–creating hall of fame posters, designing two-page layouts for trade books, and writing letters. One of my colleagues in the field, Britany, a fifth grade teacher, gave this a go! She asked students who’d read the book …Read more

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Writing Authentic Letters as Reading Responses

Are your students tired of writing analytical essays? I’m shaking up how students respond to informational texts. I’m experimenting with letters to real people that still nudge students to think about the big ideas in sources. With small groups of 4th and 5th grade students, I explored what writing letters might look like. Here’s the …Read more

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Is “text evidence” becoming a fill-in-the-blank?

A few weeks ago I had the honor of working with a class of students who were writing an analytic essay in response to a text about Frederick Douglass. During this lesson, I’d posed a text-dependent question and we’d carefully read the article and taken notes.  When we moved from taking notes to using those …Read more

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