Scaffolding Writing With the “Teaching and Learning Cycle” for Students in Grades 6–12
“[T]he best way to learn to write is by reading. Reading critically, noticing paragraphs that get the job done, how your favorite writers use verbs, all the useful techniques. A scene catches you? Go back and study it. Find out how it works.” – Tony Hillerman
Reading critically involves examining the language choices authors make to “get the job done” — in other words, to communicate effectively in specific ways with particular audiences. Not all students in middle and high school intuit this type of reading and may experience challenges when they go to write for academic purposes. Their teachers are in a unique position to demystify how language works in written texts in their content areas, but they may not know of specific methods for doing so.
Authored by Pamela Spycher, Senior Research Associate at WestEd, this article addresses these challenges by offering concrete ideas so teachers across the disciplines can add to their existing repertoires and support their students to be better writers. Teachers will find that the ideas offered are especially useful for their students who are learning English as an additional language (herein referred to as multilingual learners); however, they may decide that particular methods are also beneficial for their English-proficient students.
The rest of the article explains a process through which teachers can scaffold students’ successful writing. This process is called, simply, the “Teaching and Learning Cycle.”
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