Welcome to Read – Write – Connect, Inc.

the Internet home of Leah Mermelstein.

Best Writing consultant 002 copyLeah is an internationally recognized literacy consultant who specializes in K-5 Reading and Writing Workshop. She is the President and CEO of Read-Write-Connect, INC. She is also the author of Reading/​​Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom, (Allyn & Bacon), Don’t Forget to Share (Heinemann) and the co-author of Launching the Writing Workshop (with Lucy Calkins) (Heinemann).


Selected Works

DVD

Quality Writing Instruction
This brand new DVD will assist teachers with high quality writing instruction.

Non-fiction

Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop
This brand new book will show you how to make your share sessions more instructional.

Nonfiction

Reading/Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom: Find the Clarity and Then Blur the Lines
This book demonstrates how through careful, explicit assessing, planning, and teaching every student can understand and use the reading/writing connection to become stronger readers and writers at the same time.

Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum: Launching the Writing Workshop
This book shows teachers how to launch a joyful and rigorous Writing Workshop in their classrooms.

QUICK LINKS

E-mail the author

Authors Guild

findauthors

Leah Mermelstein
536 Grand Street, Ste. 501,
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(917) 503-1947

leahmermelstein@earthlink.net

1Leah best writing consultant 1.4 copy

Blog Posts are Below:

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Let’s Start Sharing Ways to Help Students become More Self Directed

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope everybody has had a great start to their school year.

I am planning on using my blog for the next few months  as a vehicle for people to share the ways in which they are helping their kids become more self-directed.

Of course, I am hoping you’ll  read my book:    Self Directed Writers: The Third Essential Element in the Writing Workshop and  try some of the ideas I wrote about and/or create your own.

To start the conversation I will share two thoughts/ideas I have had about self-directed learners since the year has started.

In my book, I talk about different words that describe self-directed learners. One of the words I use is a self-starter. Both of the examples below show you ways to help your kids become self-starters.

Create an environment that allows kids to be self-starters:

Recently my daughter, Ariana, learned to crawl.  It wasn’t long after she learned to crawl that she realized that crawling allowed her to  leave a room and go exploring independently.

It’s been so much fun for me to watch her and although this new skill makes my life harder  in some ways,  in most ways my life is now easier.

The reason for this is because crawling has allowed her to become more self-directed.  She is  less reliant on me for  all of her adventures.

Interestingly, one of the  first things I did once she started crawling was to look at my home environment and revise it so that she could get to her stuff more easily.

I wasn’t intentionally trying to nurture her into becoming more self-directed, but watching her make choices about what she wanted to play with in our home made me realize I had:  Watch her right here:  Ariana being self-directed

In my new book, I designate one whole chapter to creating environments that nurture kids into becoming more self-directed.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I can help Ariana become more self-directed just by being thoughtful about my home environment. I believe that teachers can do the same thing in their classrooms.

I would love to hear what you have done or want to do with your classroom environment to  support kids in becoming more self-directed.

Give kids options so that they can become self-starters

Recently I worked with a group of second grade teachers at PS 230 in Brooklyn, New York.  A word that seemed to keep coming up during our meeting was the word options.  We knew that if we wanted kids to be self-directed then we needed to make sure there were always options for them. If we always told them what to do every moment of writing workshop, they would never be  in a position to make a decision and  therefore would not become more self-directed.

We  knew that we wanted to give kids options during the work time in writing workshop.  The second grade teachers wanted to create a chart that named these options. They wanted these options to not only build upon what the kids had learned in first grade,  but also be able to be used across the year in different units of study.. Here is the list that they came up with:

Reread and……
2.  Add, change or take out
3.  Start a new piece
4.  Write a connected piece
5.  Make a plan for a new piece

This list built upon what the teachers in grade 1  had done in a variety of ways. The first grade teachers had taught their kids  that they could add to or change their pieces but second grade was going to also  help kids understand how taking out a part of their writing was a way to revise as well.

The first grade teachers had taught their kids that they  could start a new piece but writing a connected piece or making a plan were both new options for them.

All of this would help kids not only keep busy during writing workshop, but also do high quality work.

The second grade teacher also knew that this list with some explanation could be used in all of their writing  units of study.

I would love to hear from you!
Any questions or concerns about my book?
What have you tried in your classroom around the idea of self-directed learning?

Until next time,
Leah

Copyright, 2013

2 Responses to Let’s Start Sharing Ways to Help Students become More Self Directed
  1. Carol
    September 25, 2013 | 10:06 am

    This is an important discussion. I would like to have it about my graduate students. They need to be self-directed, too. It is very hard for me to find ways to do this. I hope you don’t mind if I bring up a different problem maybe some of you can help with. My adult son is still struggling with reading and writing well enough for jobs. I am looking for a good tutor who knows how to work with adults with dyslexia. His is fairly severe. He reads, but at a low level. I now believe he never really got phonics and only reads sight words. Anyone know someone, hopefully in upper manhattan? Thanks.

    • Leah Mermelstein
      September 25, 2013 | 10:43 am

      Dear Carol,
      I don’t know of anybody but I will keep my eyes and ears open. Hopefully someone else reading might know someone!

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