SUMMARY: Reading Next: A vision for action and research in literacy

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A report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York in collaboration with the Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006 (2nd edition). This report preceded the Writing Next (2007) report by the same authors.

Biancarosa, C., & Snow, C. E. (2006). Reading next—A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy:A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York (2nd ed.).Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.

RecommendedEleven elements of effective adolescent writing instruction that were  “found to be effective for helping adolescent students learn to write well and to use writing as a tool for learning. It is important to note that all of the elements are supported by rigorous research, but that even when used together, they do not constitute a full writing curriculum.”

These elements were drawn from empirical evidence identified by meta-analysis:


1. Writing Strategies (Effect size – 0.82)

– which involves teaching students strategies for planning, revising, and editing their compositions.

2. Summarization (Effect size – 0.82)

which involves explicitly and systematically teaching students how to summarise texts.

3. Collaborative Writing (Effect size – 0.75)

– which uses instructional arrangements in which adolescents work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions.

4. Specific Product Goals (Effect size – 0.70)

– which assigns students specific, reachable goals for the writing they are to complete.

5. Word Processing (Effect size – 0.55)

– which uses computers and word processors as instructional supports for writing assignments.

6. Sentence Combining (Effect size – 0.50)

– which involves teaching students to construct more complex, sophisticated sentences.

7. Prewriting (0.32)

– which engages students in activities designed to help them generate or organise ideas for their composition.

8. Inquiry Activities (0.32)

– which engages students in analyzing immediate, concrete data to help them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task.

9. Process Writing Approach (Effect size – 0.32)

– which interweaves a number of writing instructional activities in a workshop environment that stresses extended writing opportunities, writing for authentic audiences, personalized instruction, and cycles of writing.

10. Study of Models (Effect size – 0.25)

– which provides students with opportunities to read, analyze, and emulate models of good writing.

11. Writing for Content Learning (Effect size – 0.23)

– which uses writing as a tool for learning content material.



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