Research Proposal

LTCY 536

What does the research already say about writing to learn strategies?

Almost all research has supported writing to learn strategies showing that it scaffolds learning and creates deeper understanding of the content and improves writing skills as well as independent learning. Klein and Rose conducted an experiment in which 34 fifth and sixth grade students were split into 2 groups (control and experimental) and took pretests, post tests, and surveys so researchers could examine the effectiveness of writing to learn strategies. Students in the experimental group received direct instruction on writing and further, utilized writing to learn strategies. Results showed that students in the experimental group displayed a significantly greater ability to learn through writing than the control group. They also showed a greater knowledge of the argument genre, explanation genre, and explanation text quality.


Furthering the support of writing to learn strategies, George Newell suggests that writing to learn approaches to instruction changes the role of the teacher from evaluator to collaborator, and the students’ role from memorizers to meaning makers (Newell, 2006). This suggests a deeper understanding of the content and more engagement from students. This seems to happen naturally though as “activity contexts that scaffold students in thinking critically about their experiences contribute to learning” (Wallace et al., 2004).

How do students benefit from writing to learn strategies?


Research Methodology: Case Study


Setting: AP English 10 class


Participants: 23 students will be used for this study


Data Collection: Students will be given a pretest and post-test to measure content knowledge, as well as a survey before and after the study measuring their opinions on how well writing helped them learn the content.

What are the educational implications?

In the educational setting, reading and writing have traditionally been taught separately. More recently, however, researchers and teachers have explored the benefits and/or limitations of developing these skills in conjunction; that is, utilizing one to improve the other. This study is designed to look deeper into the benefits of write to learn strategies with high school students. I want to conduct an intrinsic study to learn more about the way my students write and whether or not writing to learn strategies aid in comprehension. This can only help me be a more effective and efficient teacher, and give insight into whether or not we as educators should utilize write to learn strategies in our classrooms.