Effective Writing Instruction

In the article by Zumbrum and Krause, they discuss five main themes of effective writing instruction. The themes are listed below. Bullet pointed beneath each theme there are examples connected to what we have discussed in class this semester.

1. Effective writing instructors realize the impact of their own writing beliefs, experiences, and practices.

  • We have discussed in class the concept of teacher as writer. There is value in the students seeing the teacher process and work through writing the same way they do including possible misspelling of words, pauses in thought, and other editing strategies.

2. Effective writing instruction encourages student motivation and engagement.

  • We talk a lot about helping the students discover topics that are meaningful to them and worth writing about. By writing a poem, narrative, etc. the students can then work toward publishing their work and having an audience to read or hear their work.

3. Effective writing instruction begins with clear and deliberate planning, but is also flexible.

  • We have created many models to walk students through the process; however, when it comes down to it the teacher guides the students through teaching and they come up with their own product. Like writing a poem as a class, the teacher has planned in advance, but in the end is flying at the seat of their pants.

4. Effective writing instruction and practice happen every day.

  • We have talked about how writing can be pushed aside, but ultimately you get better at writing by writing. In all subject areas the students can practice writing to incorporate other content areas. By using writer notebooks the students are also encouraged to take them home and write when they are inspired. It does not all have to happen at school.

5. Effective writing instruction is a scaffold collaboration between teachers and students.

  • The students need effective feedback in order to grow in their writing abilities. The teacher needs to know their students and know what they are capable of. In class we have discussed how to prompt more writing through interested questions or the use of mentor texts



I appreciate in the book Any Questions, Marie-Louis Gay tells the students that what inspired her was all of their questions. This shows students that they do have the stories and abilities already in their minds of being capable story writers. Questions are encouraged and imaginations can run wild. Children tell stories all of the time and this is a place for them to write them on paper. Through her book she has an example of a traditional story that has outrageous and fun ideas in it to spark the students creativity.

The scaffolds in the article by Laminack, provide the support students may need to create characters, setting, purpose, etc. It is broken up in sections for the students to list out their thoughts. This could even be completed as a class to have guided practice. Much like in Mentor Texts, the scaffolds can be exciting like through using theatre or a seesaw scaffold!

The students are encouraged to be a reader too. I like how the article overlaps reading and writing. The students will be better readers by reading and will become better writers by reading too.


Dorfman, L.R., & Cappelli, R. (2007) Mentor Texts. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Gay, M. L. (2014). Any Questions. Ground Wood Books

Laminack, L. (2016). Story matter. The Reading Teacher, 70(2), 249-253.

Zumbrum, S., Krause, K. (2012). Conversations with leaders: principles of effective writing instruction. The Reading Teacher, 65(5), 346-353.



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