On Saturday morning I attended a presentation by Sharon Taberski.  She recently retired from the Manhattan New School.  Her presentation was entitled Bringing the Reading-Writing Connection Full Circle.  It was great.

 As I said in my previous post (part 1), these notes are from my notebook–no apparent order on their own.  These notes are not necessarily quotes; sometimes I had to paraphrase.  Some are even my own thoughts as they occurred.

– Use scale drawings to demonstrate size.  She showed a whale shark with a school bus to show that they are both the same size.

– Use pictures to ensure/assist student understanding.

– Simplify!

 – Great quote to shed light on why writing is important for reading comprehension: “When children write, they’re writing text for others to comprehend.”  Nell Duke and J. David Pearson.  Her point is that as students understand how text is assembled, they gain insight on how do dis-assemble, or decode, it.

 – She compared goals for the reading and writing process:

R: acquire word and comprehension strategies.

W: acquire word skills and strategies for writing texts for others to understand.


R: to become more skilled reading a variety of genres.

W: to become more skilled writing a variety of genres.


NOTE: She says that in the third grade and up students should be reading non-fiction 60% of the time.


R: to use writing and talk to make more sense of what you read.

W: (paraphrase) to use reading (modeled writing) and talk to compose work (writing) that makes sense to the reader.


R: to love to read

W: to love to write

Groundwork needs to be laid to prepare for writing/reading conferences:

– Build background knowledge through the use of reading, experts, videos, and other sources of information.

– Model/expose students to the voice you want/hope for them to write with.  (Ensure you develop their understanding of what voice is.)

– Experiences

– Develop your students’ sense of audience.

– Teach an understanding that writing takes time and requires hard work.

– Again, this relates to reading because the reader (writer) understands what a writer puts into his or her work.

 – Our job as teachers is to be aware of the reading-writing connection and to develop that awareness in our students.

 – The daily reading and writing workshops should have a roughly parallel structure.  Sharon had a great slide showing the structures, but I wasn’t able to write it down.

 – Learn about writers and share your knowledge with your students.  This helps the students understand that the books they read were written by real people.  Help your students understand how their own work can be related to those authors as they learn from their models.

 – Recommended book: Boy on Fairfield Street   It is about Theodore Geisel.

 – Sharon calls the writer’s notebook an idea book.  It is similar to the writer’s notebooks I’ve read about except it is more visual.  It has a lot of pictures and artifacts pasted in it.

 – Writing workshop topics: habits of good writing, gathering ideas, organization, qualities of good writing, and conventions.

 – Why teach conventions?  They assist the reader.

 – When using an editing checklist, hold your students accountable for what they can do–not the entire checklist.

 – Reading and writing similarities

 R: you bring background knowledge to bear

W: you bring background knowledge to bear


R: you visualize

W: you create a picture for the reader


R: you think about the text structure

W: you organize your text structure


R: you read with a purpose

W: you consider your purpose


R: you summarize

W: you develop your key ideas


R: you ask questions

W: you develop your work to provide information


** Final thoughts and ideas

– Make a “table of contents” for a paper

– Write sentences individually, then cut and paste them to organize

– Publish, then write about the process of the entire work

– When children are aware of the elements of story in their writing, this will cross over to their reading

– Big question: “Is a writer’s work satisfying for the reader?”

– Make a “Meet the Author” board for students to post their autobiography along with their stories.

A child’s school day should make sense.  Myrtle Simpson

A teacher’s school day should make sense.  My own thought (I think)