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Literacy and Language Blog

The Role of Author and Audience: Integrated Reading and Writing Skills

Imagine a teaching scenario that creates separate times for reading and writing lessons with little explicit reciprocity between the two. This scenario was often a reality in language arts classrooms of the past.
The strategic processing that students use to make decisions in reading and writing should be explicitly connected. For example, a lesson could instruct students on how to recognize and discuss expository structures in reading while also learning how to apply and monitor structure in their own writing.
Students could search for meaning in their reading by using attributes of print while also learning how to generate ideas using the same attributes to convey meaning in their own writing. Integrating reading and writing skills can often strengthen a students’ understanding and strategic processing needed for literacy development.
The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills adopted in 2017 are focused on seven integrated strands:  developing and sustaining foundational language skills; comprehension; response; multiple genres; author's purpose and craft; composition; and inquiry and research. Providing students with opportunities to engage in strategic processing as a goal of literacy development requires that they experience reading and writing skills reciprocally. Recognizing integrated connections among the strands is important in providing instructional opportunities for students to develop and strengthen skills in both reading and writing. Our current TEKS make reading and writing skill integration logical and implementable.
Examining student expectations through the integration lens will most likely lead to development of a “bundle” of complimentary, integrated skills.
For example, notice how the following fifth grade TEKS could be integrated:
Strand 2
Strand 4
Strand 5
Strand 6
Knowledge and Skills Statements
Comprehension Skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student uses metacognitive skills to both develop and deepen comprehension of increasingly complex texts.  The student is expected to
Multiple Genres: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts—genres. The student recognizes and analyzes genre-specific characteristics, structures, and purposes within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts. The student is expected to:
Author’s purpose and craft: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student uses critical inquiry to analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning within a variety of texts. The student analyzes and applies author’s craft purposefully in order to develop his or her own products and performances. The student is expected to:
Composition: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts—
genres. The student uses genre characteristics and craft to compose multiple texts that are meaningful. The student is expected to:
Student Expectations
(6)(C) make, correct, or confirm predictions using text features, characteristics of genre, and structures
(D)recognize characteristics of structures of informational text, including:
(iii) organizational patterns such as logical order and order of importance
(10)(B) analyze how the use of text structure contributes author’s purpose
(12)(B) compose informational texts, including brief compositions that convey information about a topic, using a clear central idea and genre characteristics and craft
Using these bundled TEKS, the following sequence of instruction could occur. After discussing genre characteristics and generating a graphic organizer depicting knowledge of informational texts, students will begin analyzing how text structure contributes to an author’s purpose (a previously bundled TEKS set for purpose would have been previously taught). When recognizing characteristics of informational texts, students will also understand how word choice can support a specific structure in an informational text. Students will compose their own informational texts, applying skills and an understanding of the characteristics of informational text and craft.
Below is an example of sequenced activities aligned to the skills found in the TEKS bundle that will result from instructional mini-lessons after effective scaffolds are in place through the gradual release of responsibility (I Do-We do-You do).
  • Students will discuss the genre characteristics and structures found in informational texts.
  • Students will highlight the word choice associated with informational structures in a text.
  • Students will determine how the structure contributes to the author’s purpose in an informational text.
  • Students will determine the word choice and genre characteristics for a self-generated informational composition.
  • Students will determine how their structure supports the purpose in their informational composition.
When students examine how informational text is crafted using an appropriate structure and purpose, background knowledge is then developed so that students are able to apply what they know to create an informational composition.
Opportunities to develop explicit connections through integrated reading and writing instruction ensures that students have the opportunity to improve and develop literacy skills.
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