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Research

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Writing Research

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Instructional Strategies

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"Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know—and what we don’t know—about whatever we’re trying to learn." ― William Zinsser, author of Writing to Learn

On this page, you’ll find writing research that is clear and connected to classroom practice. In addition, you’ll find practitioner reflections, professional learning resources, and links to national organizations that promote evidence-based writing instruction. The Standards-based Instruction topic area includes further resources to support best practices.


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TEAL Just Write! Guide
This comprehensive resource on evidence-based writing instruction for ABE teachers highlights quick fact sheets and effective teaching strategies. The guide includes a concise overview of research-based writing instruction.

Writing Next
This important report synthesizes current research to provide 11 proven strategies for effective writing instruction. The findings provide the foundation for the TEAL Just Write! Guide and are also summarized for adult educators in a two-page brief by the Ohio Literacy Resource Center, Elements for Better Writing from the Writing Next Report.

A Process Approach to ESOL Writing Instruction: The Basics
This overview of process writing will be useful to all instructors, but particularly to teachers of ESOL.

Writing in the 21st Century
This reader-friendly report provides a historical overview of writing instruction in America and suggests responses to digital technologies

Collaborative Writing by Sue Grief
This practical report from the UK describes efforts to increase the amount of collaborative writing in several adult ed classrooms.

Strategy Instruction in Writing for Adult Literacy Learners: A Summary
A rare study of writing instruction with adult basic education learners, this summary explains how a strategy instruction approach to teaching persuasive writing resulted in learner gains.

Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading
This research meta-analysis underscores the importance of the reading-writing connection.

Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment
This report discusses writing assessment, giving useful recommendations for how teachers can provide feedback and encourage learners in better monitoring their own progress.

Focus on Basics: Writing Instruction
This 1999 writing-themed issue of Focus on Basics includes valuable articles on writing research and theory, student and teacher perspectives, journaling, activities for beginning writers, and more. Of particular note is Mary Russell’s The Assumptions We Make: How Learners and Teachers Understand Writing.

Writing: Keeping It Real
This short, helpful article discusses incorporating writing into the adult education classroom in an authentic way.

Developing Writers Course from Annenberg Media
This writing course, geared to high school teachers, "gives practical and philosophical advice for teaching writing" and includes excellent videos and a helpful companion website.

National Organizations

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
This professional organization for educators in English studies, literacy, and language arts provides writing-related professional development resources in print and online.

National Writing Project (NWP)
This website provides a wealth of resources for writing instructors.

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The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.