Reading-Writing Relationships

Research on the Components of a Comprehensive
Reading and Writing Instructional Program
Patricia M. Cunningham, Wake Forest University
James W. Cunningham, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Richard L. Allington, University of Florida
[DRAFT September 11, 2002]

(Four Blocks is a Framework for Reading and Writing that includes all the components of a comprehensive instructional program.   We include teacher read-aloud and independent reading during the Self-Selected Reading Block.   Comprehension instruction is included during Guided Reading.   Phonics, including phonemic awareness, is taught during Working With Words.   Fluency is developed as children learn to read and spell high-frequency words during the Word Wall activity and when we do Repeated Readings during Guided Reading.   Writing instruction is included during the Writing block.   Meaning vocabulary is taught during Guided Reading, especially when we include material during Guided Reading related to science and social studies.   Meaning vocabulary is also developed during Self-Selected Reading as children listed to what the teacher reads aloud and engage in regular independent reading.   Here is the research that supports the inclusion of all these components.)

      Currently most schools are working to implement research-based reading and writing instruction.   In some cases, research is being used to support instruction that is very single-minded and narrowly focused.   Instruction that is almost exclusively focused on phonics instruction, for example, will usually produce better reading achievement scores at the end of first grade.   There is no evidence, however, that these initial gains can be sustained and in fact, there is evidence to the contrary.   There is general agreement about the long-term goal of reading and writing instruction.   We want all our children to go to middle school able to think deeply about what they read and able to express themselves clearly and persuasively through...