Increase Critical Thinking with Writing

There are no silver bullets in education,  but writing – particularly nonfiction writing – is about as close as you can get to a single strategy that has significant and positive effects in nearly every other area of the curriculum." - Douglas Reeves

Date for This Event

  • July 16, 2024 at the Learning-Focused Training Center in Asheville, NC

Essential Questions

Why is writing for learning fundamental to all students’ success?

Why is writing for learning fundamental to all students’ success?

How does writing instruction focused on the frequency, quality, and organization of students’ writing address the Writing Gap?

How do you plan align writing opportunities with grade level expectations?

How does writing instruction focused on the frequency, quality, and organization of students’ writing address the Writing Gap?

How does writing instruction focused on the frequency, quality, and organization of students’ writing address the Writing Gap?

Writing Icon

Writing Improves Reading Comprehension

In a recent meta-analysis, Graham et al. (2018) investigated the effects of reading instruction on the writing quality in more than 90 studies. They found that students' interaction with text as well as reading instruction improved their specific writing skills and the overall quality of writing, leading to evidence of these learning outcomes:

  • Students understand and retain material read or presented in science, social studies, and mathematics when they are asked to write about it (Bangert-Drowns et al., 2004; Graham & Hebert, 2011; Graham & Perin, 2007).
  • Increasing how much they write and teaching writing improves reading skills (Graham & Hebert, 2011).
  • Making writing a part of reading instruction further enhances how well students read (Graham, Liu, Aitken, et al., 2018).

Essentially, writing about a text should facilitate comprehension, providing students with a tool for visibly and permanently recording, connecting, analyzing, personalizing, and manipulating key ideas in text (Graham, 2011).

While this relationship between reading and writing is well established, it is not unusual to find explicit instruction and expectations for writing are limited to a traditional language arts classroom. This singular focus results in two significant challenges; first, the amount of time spent on writing instruction and writing for learning is limited in a school day, and second, writing across all content areas is uneven, as it is not considered a grade level learning expectation. Even when writing instruction is prioritized, teachers may infrequently apply the instructional procedures they are familiar with, including evidence-based practices and adaptations for struggling writers. This may be due to a lack of training in how to best support struggling students, or it may be from uncertainty in how to integrate writing instruction alongside grade level content standards.

This situation has led to a Writing Gap across all levels of school. The Writing Gap represents inconsistencies in instruction regarding the frequency, organizaiton, and overall quality of writing expected from all students, especially regarding the application and transfer of new learning or critical thinking skills. It is imperative that all teachers find adaptable strategies for using writing in their content areas that are both standards-focused and developmentally appropriate for students.

Your Facilitator

Don Marlett

Chief Executive Officer for Learning-Focused

Don has been an educator for 20+ years. Before joining Learning-Focused, he taught High School and Middle School Science and was a school administrator. Don has participated in school evaluations focused on implementing High Yield Strategies. In addition, he partnered with various state DOE to support leaders and present at numerous conferences hosted by multiple leadership organizations in Florida, NC, Ohio, WV, TN, and KY. Don leads product development, provides leadership training and coaching, and coaches educators in implementing High-Yield strategies.


Learning Goals

The Increase Critical Thinking with Writing provides educators with a roadmap for using writing to improve reading and learning outcomes by providing students with a myriad of opportunities to write to learn and write to inform

Steps to a Goal.pdf

You Will Be Able To...

  • proactively plan and use Writing Strategies to process learning and increase understanding.
  • plan effective writing to learn tasks throughout content area lessons.
  • plan effective content area writing assignments incorporating higher order thinking or reading comprehension strategies.
  • support students in using text structures to organize writing assignments.
  • adapt writing strategies to address the unique learning needs of students.

You Will Know...

  • difference between writing to learn and writing to inform.
  • strategies for writing to learn throughout lessons.
  • steps for planning effective writing to inform assignments.
  • the importance of the writing process on learning outcomes.

What You Receive

In addition to learning how to implement writing to raise achievement,
participants will receive the following resources and materials $125 value):

  • Increasing Critical Thinking with Writing book
  • Accelerate Learning with Writing flipcards
  • Strategies in Action: Writing to Raise Acheivement book and online course
  • Membership to Learning-Focused Online (online platform for all trainer, teacher, and leadership resources)

When and Where

At Learning-Focused Training Center


  • 200 District Dr. Ste 001, Asheville, NC 28803


  • July 16, 2024


  • 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
LF Center

Our training center is designed for intimate training, with only 22 spots available.  We aim to provide a wonderful learning experience to help you grow your network through collaboration.


Act fast, only 22 spots are available

Registration for Increase Criticial Thinking with Writing is $150 per person.

Registration includes snacks, drinks, coffee, and other goodies.

Learning is better in teams! Register three people and receive a $50 discount off the third registration fee!

Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis only. To secure your spot, we must receive a signed quote.