Writing Sense: Integrated Reading and Writing Lessons for English Language Learners
Publication Type:Web Article
Year of Publication:2006
Julie Dermody, a North Carolina teacher, says this book includes 70 lessons that integrate writing and reading learning to demonstrate Thinking Strategies in action and is useful beyond English Language Learners.
Citation: Kendall, J. & Khuon, O. (2006). Writing sense: Integrated reading and writing lessons for English Language Learners. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
by Juli Kendall & Outey Khuon
2006 (224 pp./paperback)
by Julie Dermody
Mary Scroggs Elementary School
Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools, NC
It was no surprise to critics when the second Spiderman movie
was extremely popular. After all, the first Spiderman was
a bona fide hit and revealed a level of talent among the director,
producer and actors that boded well for the future.
When a professional book, such as Kendall and Khuon's 2005 Making
Sense: Small-Group Comprehension Lessons for English Language
Learners, has a second printing after only six weeks
on the market, I'd call that an authentic hit as well. And
I was one of many readers who eagerly anticipated the second
effort of this talented writing team. Now we have it, and
I predict that Writing Sense: Integrated Reading and Writing
Lessons for English Language Learners (K-8), will outsell
their first book. It's a book that will be embraced by any
savvy literacy teacher, not just those with ELL students.
Why am I so confident that this book will be a top seller for
Stenhouse? Teachers, even those without any training in working
with English Language Learners (ELLs), are for the most part
aware of reading comprehension strategies such as making connections,
asking questions, visualizing, inferring, determining importance,
and synthesizing. They have a sense of what to do—just
not how to go about doing it. The beauty of Making Sense
was that it led us step by step through the work of a successful
teacher team, and it also provided over fifty comprehension
lessons to use within our classrooms. This book continues
in that tradition.
For most teachers,writing is more challenging—both to instruct
and to personally do. Writing Sense integrates reading
and writing instruction and gives confidence to teachers
in teaching writing in general, and working with ELL writers
in particular. Juli and Outey base this latest book on Ellin
Keene's Thinking Strategies Used by Proficient Learners.
These strategies, which were the same strategies used for
comprehension lessons in Making Sense, help us better
understand what proficient writers do. They include: determining
what is important in a text, inferring, using prior knowledge
to make connections, asking questions, monitoring meaning
and comprehension, using fix-up strategies, synthesizing
information, and using sensory images (visualizing.)
Writing Sense includes almost 70 lessons that span
grades K-8 and demonstrate the Thinking Strategies in action.
These strategies aren't new, but using them for both reading
and writing instruction may be a surprise for many teachers.
Juli and Outey help us see that this approach "makes sense."
As they note, the goal of literacy instruction ³is for students
to become proficient learners and to use the strategies
in reading and writing to develop understanding and make
meaning.² (pg. 4).
The organization of this book, like Making Sense, is composed
of five main sections that are geared to stages of language
proficiency. Lessons again are divided into ³younger² and
³older² students, spanning kindergarten through to grade eight.
This book won't stay on your bookshelf as you revisit chapters
such as ³Best Practices,² and refer often to the titles of
culturally relevant books for kids that are provided at the
end of each chapter. I would pay the book's cost for these
For those of you who own Juli and Outey's first book, you will
be pleased to see that several of the writing lessons in this
second book use the same text as the reading comprehension
lessons from Making Sense. In fact, in the appendix,
the authors list the texts and the lessons from both of their
books to demonstrate how they can work in tandem.
You'll thank yourself for purchasing this latest book from Juli and
Outey as they model strategy integration for use with all
our students. This isn't just a book to use with your English
Language Learners; this is a book you will be using—with
great results—with all of your students.