WRITERS ARE READERS
Lester L. Laminack and Reba M. Wadsworth offer a practical, easy-to-follow manual on how reading can support writing and vice versa in Writers ARE Readers, Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities. This focus, the authors write, “deepens our understanding of what we expect of readers, what we teach readers to do, how a reader’s insights can be the pathway into a more thorough understanding of writing, and how we as teachers can flip those insights to lead students into a more robust understanding of what it means to be literate.”
The authors contend and then demonstrate that the basic notion of “flipping” is a simple one. First a text is examined as a reader making sense of what is being read’ and then it is examined to determine what techniques or moves the author used to help the reader, modelling clearly and exploring the explicit connection between student as both a reader and a writer.
The book is organized into three sections covering text structure (ex. description, sequence and problem and solution), weaving meaning (ex. inferring, summarizing, synthesizing) and story elements (ex. character, setting, plot). Each subsection is organized in exactly the same format: definition of the teaching focus, scripted lessons for read alouds, scripted lessons for shared writing, and a list of additional texts that could be used to further supplement the learning.
This is a valuable resource for lesson planning. Easily skimmed to find specific lessons, short, succinct and filled with charming student exemplars, this is a worthy go-to book for any K-6 literacy teacher. “Leading the student to understand what he did as a reader can become a lens that brings into focus what the writer had to do before a reader ever saw the page,” write the authors. Using well-known books, likely already in your library, the authors explore new ways to make connections between reading and writing that your students will be excited about and understand.
Elizabeth Ann Walker is a life-long educator with a background in the performance arts and wellness. A certified yoga teacher, trained sound therapist and meditator, Elizabeth has spent many years teaching literacy in Quebec and New Brunswick. She is an avid reader slowly working on writing about a 12-year transformative experience with Lyme disease.