The Power of Write-Alouds

by Guest Blogger, Leah Mermelstein, speaker at the upcoming Literacy for All Conference hosted by Lesley University

 “Students have diverse strengths and needs. This diversity is part of what makes teaching writing both exciting and daunting. Many teachers ask me for ideas on how to supplement the typical writing workshop to meet the needs of these diverse learners. To that end, here’s an exciting tool called write-aloud.

– Leah Mermelstein, Literacy Consultant and Author of Reading/Writing Connections in the K–2 Classroom and Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop

In this short article [pdf], Leah Mermelstein defines “write-aloud” and provides a brief write-aloud model that teachers can use.  Distinguishing write-aloud from shared/interactive writing, Leah states that the goal of write-aloud is composition and not writing mechanics. In write-aloud, she said, students listen to and watch their teacher as she writes aloud, all the while noticing the teacher’s thinking strategies.

She also shares four strategies for teachers who want to incorporate write-aloud into their instruction, which are:

  • Separating write-aloud from the writing workshop
  • Using write-aloud to introduce a writing unit of study
  • Using a previous write-aloud piece to teach important concepts in minilessons and conferences
  • Using write-aloud during small-group instruction

Leah encourages teachers to try write-aloud in the classroom, stating it is “incredibly transformative teaching, especially when paired with a strong writing workshop. Try it and watch your students’ speaking, writing, and confidence soar.”

She will be presenting at the Literacy for All conference in Providence, RI on Monday, November 7 and Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Workshop topics will include Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop, K–6 and Guided Reading: Taking a Deeper Look at Book Introductions and the Transfer to Independent Reading, K–2.  See the Literacy for All Conference website for details.

Leah also writes for her own blog.

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