Monday, March 21, 2016

Saturday Sayings: Breaking the Code



When the question of improving reading scores comes up in a district-wide conversation, I typically rely on my Reading Recovery training from almost 20 years ago to guide my thoughts. I was taught that we don't take reading for a ride without taking writing along as well. Without both, breaking the code can be a haphazard one. They each deserve the place of highest regard in the classroom and lives of our literacy club members.

So I find myself asking, What kind of writing instruction do our youngest literacy members receive? Is it possible that the answer to fixing some of our reading issues can be found within the context of writing? 

I believe these are valid questions and ones that Richard Gentry, among others, has spent a considerable amount of energy and thought exploring. Below are a few of my favorite thoughts of his on this topic from Breaking the Code.


Kindergarten writing is a means for ensuring reading success.


Working with beginning writers is like fixing the drainpipe under the sink and all of a sudden the dishwasher works because, like the sink and the dishwasher, reading and writing are hooked up to the same system.


We must look at both reading and writing. When we leave writing out, we only tell half the story. If we don’t look at both, we are destined to make mistakes.


Writing in kindergarten is the secret to the reading-writing connection and the solution to successful beginning reading instruction in today’s schools.


Early writing not only complements the reading program, it ensures early reading success.

Early intervention is not an option, it is a necessity.



I've long been on a mission to improve writing instruction in the classroom, but my purpose reaches well beyond the obvious objectives of improving the craft of writing and the thinking it involves. I also believe in writing's tangible affect on reading. If our youngest learners are struggling to understand the reading process, let's put some resources and time into how they're learning to write. It might be just what they need in order to break the code.

P.S. Thanks for reading this even though it's not Saturday. I haven't posted many Saturday Sayings lately, and I was simply in the mood.


Pin It!

10 comments:

  1. I agree 100%. That's why we rarely miss a day of reading and writing. I think it's vital to use one to reinforce the other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barb, they are definitely a package deal.

      Delete
  2. I never considered how writing was important in learning to read before. I always did writing and reading together but I never thought about how it helped children to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's Donald Graves who says that for some kids, their own writing will be the first words they learn how to read. He's brilliant that way. :)

      Delete
  3. I agree as well. I think usually the opposite actually happens. If they are not reading yet, we let them get away with lower expectations for writing-and I think that's a mistake. Teaching writing in Kinder is really hard. It takes a lot of patience and practice, but it makes such a huge difference in their skills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Trayers, you deserve a huge pat on the back for teaching K kids to write. I can imagine how hard it is. It's so worth it.

      Delete
  4. I like your analogy of the pipe and sink to reading and writing. Reading and writing are reciprocal processes, one feeding into the other. Now if we could get you into all the kindergarten classes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lori, Richard Gentry's thoughts are pretty smart. Maybe we could get him into all the k classes. :)

      Delete
  5. Love these thoughts! As usual I'm left considering my writing instruction...definitely need to step it up a notch!

    Crystal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal, stepping it up in writing seems to be a continuing theme for me. :)

      Delete