Teach daily mini-lessons

By teaching self-regulation strategies, we create writers. Therefore, we need to work hard to ensure our writing classrooms are a rich combination of collaboration, cooperation and independence.

Description of the principle

Feeling you can write well on your own is really important to children, and while all children need guidance, advice and individual instruction, they also need to be taught self-regulating strategies through daily mini-lessons. These lessons should focus on how to generate ideas, use planners and checklists, or what to look for when improving and revising a draft. They also need ready access to resources for editing and publishing. Self-regulating writers work independently to a large extent, freeing their teacher to conference with individuals or small groups.

What Writing For Pleasure teachers do

  • Children learn numerous strategies and techniques that they could employ independently. They are taught strategies for managing every part of the writing process and they know how to use them across all class and personal writing projects.
  • Self-regulation strategies and resources are introduced carefully and given dedicated instructional time. In mini-lessons, teachers will illustrate the benefit of a writing strategy or resource with personal reference to their own experience as a writer, before modelling and encouraging the children to use it that day if possible. The strategies and techniques are offered in the spirit of a fellow writer sharing their own writerly knowledge and their ‘tricks’.
  • Teachers make use of their working walls for ‘advertising’ and sharing self-regulation strategies taught in previous mini-lessons.

Reviewing your practice:questions to consider

  • Do you teach daily mini-lessons?
  • Do you develop and share your own writerly knowledge and strategies by being a writer-teacher?
  • Do you develop children’s writerly knowledge?
  • Do you discuss the benefits of a writing strategy or resource?
  • Do you model, encourage and then review children’s use of self-regulated development strategies to write independently?
  • Do you ensure children have access to resources that will aid them in being more self-regulating?
  • Once experienced enough, do you encourage children to personalise the way they plan, draft, revise, edit and publish their writing and share their techniques with the rest of the class?

Examples from the classroom

Finding The Diamond Moment

‘Mr Hayden! How do writers start their stories?’

Supporting documents

Suggested further reading

  • Atwell, N., (2002) Lessons That Change Writers, USA: Heinemann
  • Fletcher, R., Portalupi, J., (2007)(2nd Ed) Craft Lessons, USA: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Graham, S. (2006). Strategy instruction and the teaching of writing: A meta-analysis. In C. McArthur, S., Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 187–207). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Graham, S., Harris, K., Mason, L., (2011) Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Students With Writing Difficulties. Theory Into Practice. Vol. 50 Issue 1, p20-27
  • Graham, S., Harris, K., Mason, L., (2014) Improving the writing performance, knowledge, and self-efficacy of struggling young writers: The effects of self-regulated strategy development Contemporary Educational Psychology Volume 30, Issue 2, p. 207–241
  • Harris, K.R., Graham, S., Mason, L., Friedlander, B., (2008) Powerful Writing Strategies For All Students, USA: Brookes Publishing
  • Johnson, E., Hancock, C., Carter, D, Pool, J., (2012) Self-Regulated Strategy Development as a Tier 2 Writing Intervention Intervention in School and Clinic Vol 48, Issue 4, pp. 218 – 222
  • Lane, K., Graham, S., Harris, K., Little, M., Sandmel, K., Brindle, M., (2010) The Effects of Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Second-Grade Students With Writing and Behavioral Difficulties The Journal of Special Education Vol 44, Issue 2, pp. 107-128
  • Paris, S. G., & Winograd, P. (2003). The role of self-regulated learning in contextual teaching: Principles and practices for teacher preparation (CIERA Report). Accessed on 9th July 2019 [http://www.ciera.org/library/archive/2001-04/0104parwin.htm]
  • Perry, N. E., & Drummond, L. (2002) Helping young students become self-regulated researchers and writers. The Reading Teacher, 56(3), 298–310
  • Perry, N. E., Hutchinson, L., & Thauberger, C. (2008). Talking about teaching self- regulated learning: Scaffolding student teachers’ development and use of practices that promote self-regulated learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(2), 97–108.
  • Perry, N. E., & VandeKamp, K. J. O. (2000). Creating classroom contexts that support young children’s development of self-regulated learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 33(7), 821–843.
  • Serravallo, J., (2017) The Writing Strategies Book: your everything guide to developing skilled writers, USA: Heinemann
  • Zumbrunn, S, Bruning, R., (2013) Improving the Writing and Knowledge of Emergent Writers: The Effects of Self-Regulated Strategy Development Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol.26(1), p.91-11

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