A+ Spanish Mentor Texts for Writing - PROGRAM SAMPLER

6 Lesson Plans and Activities T he I mporTance of W rITIng I nsTrucTIon Strong writing skills have always been linked to academic success in all stages of learning. The benefit obtained when these skills are introduced at an early age in elementary school is that they will become an essential tool that enables students to thrive and obtain good results on standardized testing as they advance through the grades and in their professional lives (U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Our world is now more complex and more interconnected, so we need to think strategically in order to solve problems globally. To accurately communicate both what we want to achieve and the sometimes complex strategies that must be implemented in order to achieve these goals, our ability to communicate in writing is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, writing instruction in most classrooms nowadays is not sufficient to produce the strong abilities needed in our complex world. Studies have revealed that the majority of teachers simply do not have enough time to devote to this subject (Brindle, Harris, Graham, & Hebert, 2016). Another factor that influences the teaching of writing is the growing everydayuseof technology. Theuseof digital resources and the internet provide students with many important tools to communicate globally. These resources also offer an enormous repository of academic materials, and they improve the levels of editing and presenting and save time on the overall writing process. In spite of this, however, studies show that constant exposure to information and automation sometimes has a detrimental effect on students’ ability to concentrate and dive deeper into a subject to create more meaningful and unique content (Warschauer, M., 2007). “While trying to improve math, science, and technology in our schools, we’ve neglected writing,” said National Commission on Writing member Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “Writing is a fundamental professional skill. Most of the new jobs in the years ahead will emphasize writing. If students want professional work in service firms, in banking, finance, insurance, and real estate, they must know how to communicate on paper clearly and concisely.” The National Commission on Writing recommended many years ago that the nation’s leaders place writing instruction at the center of the education agenda, and that policy makers at all levels provide students with writing opportunities that are developmentally appropriate, from the earliest years through secondary school and into college. (The Neglected “R”: The Need for a Writing Revolution, 2003). Even though much has been and continues to be done in this respect, the Commission’s claims remain true, and greater efforts are still required to achieve success in these areas. “Escribir es como un músculo, hay que ejercitarlo cada día para poder brillar”. —Isabel Allende Vista Higher Learning’s A+ SpanishMentor Texts for Writing Kits, K−5 T he u se of m enTor T exTs for W rITIng I nsTrucTIon Vista Higher Learning (VHL) understands the imperative need for more effective, less time-consuming activities and tools to address writing instruction, especially at the elementary school level. VHL has put itself to the task of designing and implementing the A+ Spanish Mentor Texts for Writing Kits , an easy to use, standards-based tool that will allow teachers to increase students’ engagement, deepen their comprehension, and support their work, while also encouraging independence. This resource is based on a conceptual approach to writing instruction that combines elements from the two most common methods for teaching writing: the “reading to write” process, and “Si no tienes tiempo para leer, no tendrás herramientas para escribir”. —Stephen King 8