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Thinking ELA Core Curriculum Teaches Writing? Think Again.

Updated: Mar 6

Many educators are surprised to find that the ELA core curriculum often doesn't explicitly teach writing, a skill crucial for student development. But why is this the case?

Let's dive into a brief quiz to uncover some key insights:

What percentage of ELA time is traditionally dedicated to direct writing instruction in most curricula?

A) 10%

B) 25%

C) 50%


Which of the following is a common reason why explicit writing instruction is minimal in ELA core curricula?

A) Lack of resources

B) Emphasis on reading comprehension and literature

C) Belief that writing skills are developed naturally over time


How can integrating explicit writing instruction benefit students' overall academic performance?

A) Enhances critical thinking skills

B) Improves reading comprehension

C) All of the above

Answers: A, B, C

Understanding the gaps in writing instruction within the ELA curriculum can empower educators to advocate for a more balanced approach that nurtures both reading and writing skills. Let's explore why explicit writing teaching is often sidelined and how we can address this oversight for the benefit of our students.

Bridging the Gaps in Writing Education

Traditional ELA curriculums shine in teaching literary analysis and reading comprehension but tend to skim the surface of writing skills. This oversight leaves a chasm in students' ability to express themselves effectively through writing. Explicit writing instruction acts as a bridge, guiding students through the intricate process of crafting their thoughts into structured, clear, and engaging text. It equips them with the tools to navigate the complexities of writing, from the genesis of an idea to the final touches of revision.

Catalyzing Critical Thinking and Creativity

Writing is a dynamic conduit for critical thinking and creativity. Through targeted writing instruction, students are not only learning to construct sentences but are also being taught to weave their thoughts, critiques, and imaginations into their writings. This approach doesn't just improve writing skills; it transforms students into critical thinkers and innovators, capable of examining issues from multiple perspectives and presenting their ideas in compelling ways.

Boosting Confidence and Mastery

A common barrier to effective writing is a lack of confidence, often stemming from unclear guidelines or insufficient practice. Explicit instruction in writing dismantles these barriers by demystifying the writing process and providing a clear roadmap from brainstorming to publishing. This clarity, coupled with regular practice and constructive feedback, fosters a sense of achievement and confidence among students. As they witness their own progress, their willingness to engage with more challenging texts and assignments increases, leading to a virtuous cycle of learning and improvement.

Equipping Students for Future Success

The ability to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively is invaluable, transcending academic boundaries to become a foundational skill in the professional world. By weaving explicit writing instruction into the fabric of ELA curriculums, educators are not just teaching students how to write; they are preparing them for success in college, career, and beyond. Effective communication skills open doors to opportunities, enhance interdisciplinary learning, and are critical for leadership and innovation.


Supplementing the ELA core curriculum with explicit writing instruction is not merely an enhancement; it's a necessity for developing skilled, confident, and versatile writers. By focusing on the writing process, encouraging critical engagement, and fostering creativity, educators can equip students with the tools they need for academic and professional success. As we move further into the 21st century, the ability to communicate effectively in writing remains a cornerstone of educational achievement and a critical skill for lifelong learning.

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