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The Power of Pen: Placing Writing at the Heart of Literacy Instruction

Updated on
Modified on October 12, 2023
  • Literacy Instruction
  • Writing

When we talk about literacy block, we often use “reading time” synonymously for this part of our day. Imagine if that shifted and we called this time “writing block” instead, and folded in all skills toward building the final outcome of writing rather than primarily reading. What if we thought of writing as the center of literacy and the most critical instructional area we should address every day?  

Writing empowers our students to do more than consume, but to explore, express, and excel in ways that build on and strengthen a focus on reading. Reading can transport us to new lands and ways of thinking. Writing sparks even further inspiration in students and supports them in uncovering what they think, fine tuning, and revising their understandings then sharing them with the world. 

Writing offers so many benefits toward raising overall literacy and depth of knowledge. Students must think deeply, organize their thoughts, and sharpen their ideas. These skills aren't just for school; they prepare them for the demands of college, career, and every area of life. When students write about what they read, they are in charge of their learning. This newfound power prepares them to evaluate and then confidently express ideas in any situation.

Evidence-based practices can strengthen the pivotal role of writing in education. When we teach students to self-regulate how they approach a writing task and carry themselves through it, they master how they can use the tools they'll carry into the future, where words will be their greatest allies.

We can launch the magic of writing in our schools with simple, evidence-based practices, streamlining the writing process to make it more readily accessible and impactful. By giving students the kind of agency they develop when they understand the writing process and the features of effective writing, we'll inspire them to wield the pen not just as a tool, but as a wand of self and world transformation. 

I hope you’ll join me next week for my EDVIEW360 webinar, Center Writing in Your Literacy Instruction to Move ALL Students Forward, during which I will discuss the practices and share strategies.

You can register here.

About the Author
Dr. Leslie Laud
Reading, Writing, and Assessment Specialist

Dr. Leslie Laud has taught students how to write for nearly 20 years as a classroom teacher. She has researched and developed writing instruction methodology, and now serves as a nationally recognized writing-staff instructor and consultant to hundreds of schools.

Dr. Laud holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Columbia University, where she also taught teacher education courses. She conducts empirical research studies on the most effective ways to teach writing, publishes her findings in peer-reviewed journals, and presents at prestigious conferences such as Learning & the Brain, Society for Scientific Studies of Reading, International Literacy Association (ILA), National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and locally at Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA). In addition to authoring Releasing Writers: Evidence-Based Strategies for Developing Self-Regulated Writers (2017), she also published Using Formative Assessment to Differentiate Middle School Literacy Instruction (2012). She is currently conducting an empirical research study about structured ways to teach sentence writing. She is the author of multiple journal articles.

Learn more about Dr. Leslie Laud