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Envisioning a Desired State of Writing Instruction


Once the Committee developed belief statements, they then identified "desired States" from both the teacher perspective and that of the learner. Once those were drafted, they were aligned to the belief statements. Below is a example of how districts and schools can align desired State with belief statements. The research included is not an exhaustive, but provides a connection anchoring the Committee's beliefs on writing and the teaching of writing.

A Sample Framework Aligning Beliefs with Desired States

Belief Statements  Research Supporting the Belief  Desired State: Teacher Look-Fors  Desired State: Student  Look-Fors
We believe that writing instruction . . .      
approaches writing as a unique and distinct literacy, equally as important as reading. Framework for  Success "Developing Critical Thinking" (page  11)      Teachers deliver predictable, dedicated writing instruction, and allow for writing time in all classrooms.  Students interact with and respond to different modes of communication and texts. In addition to written texts, students consider communication in a variety of "texts". For example, songs, photographs, visual art, dance, multimedia, and infographics. 
is foundational to all content. Colorado Academic Standards (Prepared Graduate #10)

Teachers in all academic disciplines will create authentic writing experiences for students that demonstrate the specific literacy demands and expectations in their content area. 

Teachers strategically integrate literacy skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) across content areas. (CDE Teacher rubric

Students engage in writing experiences in all content areas. 

Students demonstrate proficiency in writing in the discipline for all content areas. 

Students understand differences in written communication for each academic discipline. 

Students draw real-world connections to other content area(s). (CDE Teacher rubric)


offers students opportunities

  • to write to think,
  • write to learn, and
  • write to demonstrate learning.

NCTE Statement  Principle 3.4

Framework for Success "Developing Critical Thinking" (page 11)

Habits of Mind

Project Write Now (for young writers) 

Project Write Now (for teens/adolescents) 

Teachers collaboratively use common writing assessments and common standards-based rubrics (i.e., Revision Assistant) to evaluate the effectiveness of writing instruction among groups of students. 

Teachers assign challenging tasks and opportunities that encourage students to ask questions and construct new meaning. 

Students have opportunities to engage in discipline-specific writing in all content areas. 

Students will have choice for demonstrating learning through writing. 

Students will engage in critical thinking and inquiry to generate ideas gather information, and communicate their findings. 

Students confer with peers and instructors that move learning forward. 

emphasizes writing formats, structures, and modes that mirror those found in the real world.

NCTE Statement  Principle 1.1 

NCTE Statement Principle 2.3

Framework for Success "Developing Knowledge of Conventions" (page 9)

Colorado Academic Standards (Prepared Graduate Statement #6, 7, and 8)

Teacher teach text structures that are found in different modes of writing: narrative, informational, argument.

Teachers include a variety of genre within those modes, including but not limited to: (narrative:  personal narrative, memoir, "slice of life," biography, autobiography: informative: lab, report, process paper, nature writing, blog posts; argumentative: editorials, problem-solution essays, proposals, commentary, speeches, critiques).

Teachers teach syntax (grammar, syntactic awareness, sentence elaboration, and punctuation).

Students produce texts which resemble real world texts (what they can find in a library or bookstore, as well as all the types of text used in the visual and performing arts). 

Students understand and can meet specific demands of writing for digital media. 

Students write in many relevant formats to include professional, journal, blogs, infographics, articles, letters (formal and informal), emails, choreography, theater blocking, diagrams, etc. 

empowers students to communicate and connect with the world.


Framework for Success "Developing Rhetorical Knowledge"

Project Write Now (for young writers) 

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Elementary Students to Write Effectively

Project Write Now (for teens/adolescents)

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively

Teachers provide opportunities for students to communicate with individuals from many communities and cultures in a variety of modes of genres. 

Teachers provide students relevant and responsive writing opportunities that allow for exploration of current cultural events.

Students understand and value of storytelling as a connection point among cultures. 

Students consider different perspectives that their audience may have based on culture, knowledge based on culture, knowledge base, experience, and other factors. 


equips students with the ability to apply and transfer the writing process strategically in new situations.

NCTE Statement  Principle 2.4

Framework for Success "Composing in Multiple Environments" (page 10)

Project Write Now (for young writers) 

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Elementary Students to Write Effectively

Project Write Now (for teens/adolescents)

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively

Teachers' text written by professional writers that illustrate the writing process and polished, published pieces. 

Teachers provide multiple entry points and planning models for students to choose from when engaging in the writing process to make their own. 

Teachers deliberately embed writing instruction in all content areas and provide a variety of opportunities. 

Students graduate from Colorado public schools equipped with the writing skills needed to successfully enter higher education, the military, or the workforce.
is a process, rather than a program.

Framework for Success "Developing Flexible Writing Processes" (page 7)

Implementing the Writing Process

Teachers model an approach to writing that is consistent, adaptable, and applicable to both familiar writing tasks and new writing opportunities students might encounter in PK-12 and beyond. 

Teachers will provide authentic opportunities to develop, strengthen, and publish written work and gain audience feedback with using digital tools.

Teachers provide access to authentic mentor texts, mentor authors, anchor charts, rubrics to guide instruction. 

Teachers will chunk exemplar texts to teach about structures and patterns of writing (not just as formulaic product).

Teachers model writing by writing along with students. 

Teachers uses the gradual release of responsibility model for writing. 

Students co-create rubrics and writing goals with teachers. 

Students internalize their own writing process and have the agency to determine best approaches to a given piece of writing.

fosters students’ growth in the writing process and treats the development of “students as writer” with emphasis given to both the writing process and the written product.

NCTE Statement Principle 3.1

Framework for Success “Developing Flexible Writing Processes” (page 8)

Teachers support students in reflecting on their writing growth.

Teachers address individual student needs through differentiated instruction and conferencing.

Teachers provide consistent, frequent and focused feedback throughout the process.

Teachers model using writing time and assignments as an avenue for self-expression and personal growth.

Students co-create rubrics and writing goals with teachers.

Students internalize their own writing process and have the agency to determine best approaches to a given piece of writing.

establishes a classroom community of writers.

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Elementary Students to Write Effectively

Project Write Now (for teens/adolescents)

What Works Clearinghouse: Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively

Teachers create an environment that fosters inquiry, intellectual curiosity, and support for each member of the class.

Teachers deliver lessons that consider and respect students’ backgrounds and contextual knowledge.

Teachers promote ethical behavior of students as individuals and as members of a community.

Students respect the uniqueness of fellow students.

Students advocate for multiple aspects of diversity, equity, and social awareness.

supports the development of all students toward becoming effective writers (i.e., by attending to culturally responsive instruction, adapting writing tasks to meet students’ needs, providing multiple opportunities for feedback) with expectations that each child will write well.

NCTE Statement Principle 2.1 

NCTE Statement Principle 2.2

NCTE Statement Principle 3.1

NCTE Statement Principle 3.3

Student Centered Classroom Instruction

Teachers differentiate feedback to students throughout the writing process and adjust instruction based on individual needs to move the student forward.

Teachers provide guidance through a variety of feedback opportunities: written comments, conferences to foster student growth.

Teachers model how to incorporate feedback to improve learning.

Teachers provide students opportunities to revise their work based on feedback.

Students discuss their growth in writing and their achievement on individual writing tasks with the teacher, family, and/or significant adults.

Students provide feedback to peers.

Students monitor and revise their learning goals based on feedback.

Students demonstrate growth over time. Student growth is seen from the beginning of a school year until the end AND it is observed, for example, from the beginning of middle school to the end of middle school, or the beginning of high school until graduation.

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