What is Structured Word Inquiry?

Structured Word Inquiry is an empowering way for students to learn language and the words within it. In many classrooms, students simply learn phonics rules and the definitions of isolated words. Through SWI, also known as Scientific Word Investigation, students study the history of words, the connections between words, and the evolution of language that […]

The Writing Rope: Syntax

Syntax is one of the five strands of Joan Sedita’s Writing Rope. Syntax is a grammar skill, and an important one. It helps us know the order in which words go in a sentence. It also helps us to understand the literal (and often non-literal) meaning of what we hear and read. Syntax helps us […]

The Writing Rope: Writing Craft

Once students have a solid foundation of mechanical writing skills, they should begin experimenting with different aspects of writing craft. This is what will distinguish their writing from that of others, and help them develop their “voice” as an author. Word Choice One aspect of writing craft is word choice. When students are first learning […]

The Writing Rope: Text Structure

Text structure refers to the way in which authors organize their writing. The structure an author uses depends on both the text type and purpose. It’s important for students to learn these different text structures and be able to apply them appropriately to their own writing. Types of Text Structure The way authors structure text depends […]

The Writing Rope: Critical Thinking

One of the strands of Joan Sedita’s Writing Rope is critical thinking. Just as critical thinking plays an important role in developing all cognitive skills, it also plays a big part in helping students become competent writers. But what exactly does critical thinking look like when it comes to writing? General critical thinking skills require […]

Fitting Grammar Into Writing Instruction

Strategies for teaching grammar in the classroom have evolved over time. Although it gets less focus today than in writing classrooms of the past, students still need instruction in basic rules of grammar in order to be able to write, communicate, and understand others effectively. Grammar skills can be divided into several major categories, two […]

The Transcription Strand of the Writing Rope

The transcription strand of the writing rope includes skills that schools used to view as the most important in writing. In many classrooms, students learned little more than handwriting and spelling in the writing classroom. While these skills are important, recent years have seen a decline in the focus on these skills. Instead, students are […]

Composition Strands of the Writing Rope

Joan Sedita’s Writing Rope, based on Harris Scarborough’s Reading Rope, provides an excellent visual for how kids learn to write. Just like the Reading Rope, the Writing Rope consists of strands that represent the key components of writing. These strands intertwine and work together to build strong writers. Four of the five strands of the […]

Resources for Learning Vocabulary

No one can deny the importance of building a strong vocabulary. Even if your child had robust vocabulary instruction last year, chances are, he isn’t keeping up with it this summer. Just a few minutes of vocab practice a day can help keep those skills sharp. Here are some of our favorite web-based resources for summer […]

Learning Vocabulary: Greek and Latin Roots

Well over half of the words in the English language come from Greek or Latin. So you can see how useful it would be to teach at least the more common roots to students in order for them to best make sense of our language. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen. Teaching Greek and Latin roots […]