Purposeful Reading, Writing and Discussion


Note: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Literacy are organized into six categories:


1. Reading: Literature

2. Reading: Informational Texts

3. Reading: Foundational Skills

4. Writing

5. Speaking and Listening

6. Language


The CCSS urges teacher flexibility in a comprehensive set of instructional strategies organized into three categories:



2.Collaborative engagement

3.Independent application



The “AAMPup Reading” web page will provide helpful links to the Reading, Speaking and Listening, and Foundational Skills; The “AAMPup Writing” page will provide helpful links for Writing and Language.


READWRITHETHINK:  A comprehensive website offering K-12 classroom resources that guide teachers to purposeful reading, writing and discussion across all content areas. Includes links to International Reading Association videos.


Purposeful Reading:

To become College and Career Ready (CCR), the Common Core State Standards require that teachers dedicate ¾ of class time to INTENTIONAL TEACHING, using a multitude of strategies to guide students through the critical thinking process of grappling


“…with works of exceptional craft and thought whose range extends across genres, cultures, and centuries. Such works offer profound insights into the human condition and serve as models for students’ own thinking and writing. Along with high-quality contemporary works, these texts should be chosen from among seminal U.S. documents, the classics of American literature, and the timeless dramas of Shakespeare. Through wide and deep reading of literature and literary nonfiction of steadily increasing sophistication, students gain a reservoir of literary and cultural knowledge, references, and images; the ability to evaluate intricate arguments; and the capacity to surmount the challenges posed by complex texts”.



It is important to note in the CCSS, requires all teachers, (history/social studies, science and technical subjects) provide authentic, meaning-based literacy skills. This means all teachers need to develop INTENTIONAL instructional strategies designed to help students deconstruct difficult texts, IN THE CLASSROOM, not as homework.

CCSS Standards done correctly: This video captures INTENTIONAL teaching, promoting purposeful reading, through the SIFTT model of literary analysis. You will note the comprehensive set of instructional strategies recommended by CCSS: demonstration, collaborative engagement and independent application.. (The SIFTT method is offered on the AAMPup Reading page.) https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/sift-method-analyze-literature

Done incorrectly, where most of the reading and most of the “hard work” is assigned for “homework”, teachers unwittingly promote a form of READICIDE.


READICIDE: How Schools Are Killing Reading And What You Can Do About It. Author Kelly Gallagher describes:


Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools. Reading is dying in our schools. Educators are familiar with many of the factors that have contributed to the decline — poverty, second-language issues, and the ever-expanding choices of electronic entertainment. In this provocative new book, Kelly Gallagher suggests, however, that it is time to recognize a new and significant contributor to the death of reading: our schools.


In Readicide, Kelly argues that American schools are actively (though unwittingly) furthering the decline of reading. Specifically, he contends that the standard instructional practices used in most schools are killing reading by:

• Valuing the development of test-takers over the development of lifelong readers;

• Mandating breadth over depth in instruction;

• Requiring students to read difficult texts without proper instructional support;

• Insisting that students focus solely on academic texts;

• Ignoring the importance of developing recreational reading;

• And losing sight of authentic instruction in the shadow of political pressures




Purposeful Reading, Writing and Discussion, requires a whole-school commitment toward increasing the amount of reading discussion, and writing in the class, using instructional strategies that foster deep and engaged reading, avoiding art-based “book reports” or “the coloring curriculum”--any activity that takes away time from more reading.


Purposeful Reading/Discussion
See multiple links on how to achieve this on
“Purposeful Reading/Discussion” page.


  • SSR
  • Mentor Texts
  • Picture Books used in all grade levels.
  • Short Stories
  • Read Alouds
  • Poetry
  • Plays
  • Magazines: Scholastic, Time For Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic For Kids
  • Reading Book
  • Self-chosen novels
  • Teacher chosen novels
  • Current Events
  • Primary Source Documents
  • Non Fiction sources: books, Internet, blogs, newspapers, magazines




  • Socratic Seminar
  • Reciprocal Teaching
  • Literature Circles
  • Annotations (SIFTT Method)
  • Big Idea Questions: (See Jim Burke on AAMP Up Reading)
  • Round Robin
  • Predict
  • Summarization
  • Talking Chips
  • Teach students how to ask “Fat Questions”, as opposed to “Skinny Questions”



Purposeful Writing:


See multiple ways to achieve this on “Purposeful Writing” page.

  • Free Writes-Quick Writes: frequent fluency and ungraded writing
  • Train students on the six-trait rubric.
  • Use anchor papers or benchmarks to train students on assessment.
  • Never “assign” writing, teach it through scaffolding.
  • Teach all the writing domains.
  • Require at least one complex research or inquiry writing assignment
  • Write to mastery: For those writing assignments that are assessed, allow students to revise to mastery
  • Write across the curriculum: summaries, reflections, explanations, compare contrast, etc.
  • Teach literary and rhetorical analysis
  • Teach metacognitive skills and how to annotate texts.
  • Teach syntax development and strategies to improve words choice.