Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2011 Issue »

    Writing to Read

    A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Writing and Writing Instruction on Reading

    Steve Graham and Michael Hebert
    Reading is critical to students’ success in and out of school. One potential means for improving students’ reading is writing. In this meta-analysis of true and quasi-experiments, Graham and Herbert present evidence that writing about material read improves students’ comprehension of it; that teaching students how to write improves their reading comprehension, reading fluency, and word reading; and that increasing how much students write enhances their reading comprehension. These findings provide empirical support for long-standing beliefs about the power of writing to facilitate reading.

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    Steve Graham is the Curry Ingram Professor of Literacy at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on identifying the factors that contribute to writing development and writing difficulties, developing and validating effective instructional procedures for teaching writing, and the use of technology to enhance writing performance. He is the past editor of Exceptional Children and Contemporary Educational Psychology. He serves as an editor on the upcoming three-volume series, American Psychological Association Educational Psychology Handbook. In addition, he is a senior editor of the What Works for Special Needs Learners series published by Guilford Press. Finally, he is a member of the Adolescent and Adult Literacy Panel formed by the National Research Council, he is the chair of the practice guide on writing instruction for elementary grade students being developed by What’s Works Clearing House, and he is the member of the research advisory panel and early history panel for the National Writing Project. Steve has received numerous awards, including Career Research Award from the International Council for Exceptional Children, Samuel A. Kirk Award from the Division of Learning Disabilities, Distinguished Researcher Award from the special education interest group of the American Educational Research Association, Don Johnston Lectureship Award for Career Contributions to Literacy, and Distinguished Alumni 100th Anniversary Valdosta State University. From 1991 to 2002, he was the third most productive scholar in journals in educational psychology.

    Michael Hebert is a doctoral candidate in special education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. He is in the Experimental Education Research Training Program (ExpERT) at Vanderbilt, supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES). Mr. Hebert’s research interests include writing development, reading development, and how writing may influence reading development, especially for students with reading and writing difficulties. He is an author on two influential meta-analyses, “Writing to Read” and “Informing Writing,” both of which were funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has several years of classroom teaching experience at the elementary level, including a year teaching on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. Mr. Hebert also has several years of experience as a reading specialist in El Segundo, California, where he taught students with reading difficulties, and he is a National Writing Project Fellow through the California Writing Project at UCLA.

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    Winter 2011 Issue


    Children’s Need to Know
in Schools
    Susan Engel
    The Work Children Do
    Unpacking Gendered Conflict in an Elementary Classroom
    Hana Kawai and Emily Taylor
    An Important Part of Me
    A Dialogue About Difference
    Sofia Lico and Wendy Luttrell
    Acquiring Double Images
    White Preservice Teachers Locating Themselves in a Raced World
    Barbara Seidl and Stephen Hancock
    Writing to Read
    A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Writing and Writing Instruction on Reading
    Steve Graham and Michael Hebert

    Book Notes

    Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
    Edited by Eric Grodsky and Michal Kurlaender

    Gateway to Opportunity
    J. M. Beach

    Transforming Borders
    C. Alejandra Elenes

    Making Failure Pay
    Jill P. Koyama

    Drop That Knowledge
    Elisabeth Soep and Vivian Chavez

    A Cord of Three Strands
    Soo Hong

    Call 1-800-513-0763 to order this issue.