Combine reading and writing in literacy notebooksMany teachers have implemented a writer’s notebook concept into their classrooms. But what about a reader’s-writer’s notebook — a literacy notebook? Since we are trying to create writers who write for readers and readers who read like writers, then merging the two together makes sense.

If we want students to utilize stronger words within their written word choice, what better place can you find them than their own, everyday reading. One of the sections of a literacy notebook could be “WOW Words.” Within it are new words they are learning in writing lessons (i.e. synonyms, action verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs) and also lists of words students are noticing in their reading. Now, when writing, the students have a greater pool of words to pull from.

The same is true for sentence construction. If you are trying to teach sentence variety (varying sentence lengths or varying types of sentences), students could collect sentence examples from their current reading. Reading time is not just to work on comprehension skills and strategies but also an opportunity to study mentor texts. Most teachers find that when they merge their reading workshop and writing workshop into a literacy block, their day feels less choppy.

Some suggested literacy notebook sections might include:

  • Topics to write about
  • My Writing/ First Drafts
  • Works Under Construction (revisions)
  • Wow Words (synonym study, kinds of verbs, strong word choice collected from literature, etc.)
  • Punctuation Study (grammar rules learned during writing mini-lessons, sample sentences with varied punctuation collected from literature, etc.)
  • Mentor Text Examples (passages from picture books, chapter books, or literature anthologies that are studied for their strong writing techniques. These might include not only the copied passages, but also places for students to experiment in patterning or imitating the writing style or skill within their own writing.)
  • Author & Genre Study (noticing author styles, studying different genre characteristics, teaching text-to-text connections, etc.)
  • Writing about our reading (Literature Response/Reading Journal)

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