Tuesday, March 15, 2022


 Hochman discovered that writing, reading comprehension, and analytical ability were all connected—and that writing was the key to unlocking the other two. If you wanted to enable students to understand what they were reading, convert information into long-lasting knowledge, and learn to think critically, teaching them to write was about the best thing you could do.

The writing strategies Hochman saw in Hoboken were rudimentary. She tried to find academic studies on writing instruction, but there weren’t many….

…Then Hochman had a second epiphany: these strategies would work even better if they were “embedded in content.” Instead of asking students to practice writing on topics that didn’t require any particular knowledge—like what makes a teacher happy—she asked them to write about what they were learning. This worked especially well in history and social studies. If students were learning about the American Revolution, the teacher could give them a bare-bones sentence like “They rebelled” and ask the kids to expand it: Who rebelled? When? Why? The faculty soon realized there wasn’t enough information in social studies textbooks to enable students to write meaningfully about the topics they covered. So teachers started providing additional material. Once the kids had enough information to draw on, their writing became richer and more interesting. And their understanding increased, because they had to figure out the meaning of what they were reading in order to write about it.

Natalie Wexler, The Knowledge Gap (219-220). [2019] Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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