How Explicit Writing Instruction Can Compensate for Gaps in Background Knowledge

Natalie Wexler

Natalie Wexler

Education Writer and Author


Release Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Writing is potentially the most powerful lever we have for building knowledge and improving reading comprehension. It can uncover gaps in background knowledge that prevent students from accessing grade-level material. And, because writing helps new information stick, it can also boost students’ academic performance.

But writing is the most difficult thing we ask students to do. If inexperienced writers are asked to write at length, they can easily become overwhelmed as they juggle everything from spelling to word choice to organizing their thoughts. And if students are asked to write only about personal experience or topics in a separate writing curriculum, writing won’t help them acquire the knowledge they need to succeed in school.

Join this informative podcast as we talk with esteemed researcher and author Natalie Wexler. She will share ways to make writing less overwhelming by starting at the sentence level and how to include writing activities in the content of the core curriculum. This is an approach that shouldn’t be limited to English classes. It can have powerful effects in any subject—and at any grade level.

 

Guest Presenter

Natalie Wexler

Natalie Wexler is an education writer and the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—And How to Fix It (Avery 2019). She is also the co-author, with Judith C. Hochman, of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Jossey-Bass, 2017), and a senior contributor to the education channel on Forbes.com. Her newsletter, Minding the Gap, on Substack, is available for free. Click here to view past posts and subscribe.

Her articles and essays about education and other topics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the MIT Technology Review, The American Scholar, and other publications. She has spoken about education before a variety of groups and appeared on a number of TV and radio shows, including Morning Joe and NPR’s On Point and 1A.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Sussex (UK), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a reporter, a Supreme Court law clerk, a lawyer, and a legal historian. The author of three novels, she lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and has two adult children.

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Transcript

Transcript

 

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