Writing Revolution Method

Writing Revolution Method: Across the English speaking world there are students in primary (elementary) and secondary schools who cannot adequately express themselves when attempting written language tasks. In short, students don't know how to write proper sentences so are not equipped to write paragraphs, reports or essays. This difficulty is most pronounced when students attempt to write expository (non-fiction) text. It is a harsh reality that bedevils classroom teachers across the globe who struggle to know how to teach the crucial skills of writing. 

American educators Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler decided to write the book, The Writing Revolution, which addresses the gaps in the teaching of writing to school-age students. The Writing Revolution is a book that outlines in clear detail how classroom teachers should tackle the difficult task of teaching writing.

The Writing Revolution method is based on six important principles 

Writing Revolution Method: Principles

Principle One

Explicit Instruction in Written Language is Crucial

Written language differs considerably from spoken language. Spoken language is generally made up of short, simple sentences, rambling statements or sentence fragments, but we often get the message across using vocal tone, facial expression, gesture and we watch for body language cues from our intended audience to make certain that our message is being received. 

In written language our intended message can only be conveyed through words on the page. All other communication cues such as gesture, facial expression and vocal tone, that we may use in spoken language, are not available to us in written language. They way we craft our message is completely reliant on our ability to competently combine words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs in written form on the page (or on the screen). 

Hochman and Wexler conclude that the elementary (primary) grades are the ideal time to begin explicit teaching of writing to younger students. In the early years, students need to practice hand-writing skills, spelling and vocabulary with explicit instruction focused on students' construction of simple and complex sentences.

Principle Two

Sentences Are the Building Blocks of All Writing

Students need to learn the structure of sentences in order to be competent writers. Sentence structure needs to be explicitly taught by teachers who feel confident teaching sentence structure. The rationale is simple. For students with language reading/writing difficulty, free form sentence writing, in the absence of explicit instruction, makes cognitive demands that students struggle to cope with. If, however, students are explicitly taught the structure of sentences then a major cognitive load will be removed.

Principle Three

Writing Instruction Needs to be Curriculum Relevant

Hochman and Wexler make the point that it is much better for students to write content on subject matter that they have been learning in class rather than a written recount of, say, the student's weekend activities. The focus of learning the basics of writing well while writing curriculum content is considered to be beneficial for students' continual progress of written language skills.