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Reading as a Writer


Description: When students read as writers, they bring an awareness of the craft of writing to their analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of text. They explore the way in which a text is written, consider how the form of the text contributes to its meaning, and they may begin to experiment with ways in which they could incorporate craft elements into their own writing.


Students who are able to read as writers approach text through a rich and multifaceted lens, and they are able to notice and critically consider aspects of both form and content. Instead of seeing a text as a fixed product, they come to understand the way in which it was shaped, and to appreciate the writer’s craft that went into its creation. This focus on writing itself makes students more perceptive readers, and also more skilled and purposeful writers.

Content Area Adaptations 

Reading as a writer is useful whenever students need to consider the way in which a text is written, or whenever they are developing their own skills as writers. It can be useful when studying historical documents, literature excerpts, or genres of writing that students are attempting to learn. For example, students may use this skill when exploring a genre such as APA style academic articles, philosophical theory, or lab reports, or when studying particular documents such as the Gettysburg Address or “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Predicting
  • Questioning

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.R.3
  • CCRA.R.4
  • CCRA.R.5
  • CCRA.R.6
  • CCRA.R.8

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Listening
  • Reading

Beyond-the-Lines Questions

In this activity, adapted from Harvey & Goudvis’s Strategies that Work (2007), students will create and use beyond-the-line questions that provoke deeper thinking and prompt lively student discussions. These are questions that can’t be answered with one or two words or by referencing a single line of text, but arise in complex moments of...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Building Background


This activity helps students to structure the asking of different types of questions about a text. “QAR” stands for “Question-Answer Relationship,” and it is a way of conceptualizing the different types of questions students may ask about a text. First, questions are divided into “In the Book” QARs and “In Your Head” QARs. “In the Book” QARs...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection

Questioning the Author

This activity helps students to connect the content of a text with the author’s perspective and intention, and in doing so to develop a richer understanding and appreciation of the text. This process helps students to evaluate an author’s message, and also to evaluate the style and quality of an author’s writing. Students ask questions of the...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation