Writing Across the Curriculum


Why Is Writing Important in the Content Areas?

“An underlying element of all literacy learning in general is `thinking.' In combined writing and reading instruction, learners engage in a greater society of experiences that lead to better reasoning and higher-level thinking than is achieved with either process alone (McGinley, 1988). Since thinking is a critical part of meaning construction, classrooms that actively foster meaning construction through reading and writing will produce better thinkers (T. Tierney and Shanahan, (1991).” (Cooper, 1997) Therefore, as is the case with reading, writing is and should be an integral part of all content areas. In science, social studies, reading/English language arts, and mathematics, students demonstrate their response to knowledge taught, concept attainment, and understanding through writing.

What Can All Teachers Do to Help Writers?

  • Help students analyze a piece of writing in terms of the text structure you want them to write - sequential order, cause and effect, problem/solution, or comparison.

  • Model the writing process -- pre-writing, drafting, revising, and proofreading.

  • Emphasize comparison/contrast in reading and writing activities.

  • Provide extensive opportunities to identify main ideas/topics from reading selections.

  • Require students to support and give explanations for their responses (i.e., processes they chose to use or decisions they made).

  • Expect students to thoroughly present information on a topic, elaborating through evidence and thoughtful analysis of text.

  • Provide writing opportunities that involve writing process strategies, use of graphic organizers, elaboration.

  • Teach proper form for various types of writing within a writing-as-a-process model (i.e., pre-writing, drafting, peer response groups, revision, proof reading and publication).

  • Emphasize language usage within the context of the editing process: students must become aware of the need to communicate effectively to a designated audience with in-depth responses. They must use complete and correct sentence structure and correct grammar, usage, spelling, capitalization and punctuation, as well as proper paragraph form.

  • Teach students to use a variety of sentence types and to use a sense of appropriate personal voice and style.

Writing Purposes
How Can Writing Be Integrated into the Content Areas?
How Does Writing Contribute to MSPAP Success?

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This site was developed by the Department of Staff Development, in collaboration with the Division of Instruction. Questions, comments, and other inquiries may be addressed to Allene Chriest (achriest@pgcps.org) or Jeff Maher  (jmaher@pgcps.org).