Modelling how good readers and writers work (and are also using strategies such as questioning, prompting, and giving feedback).
Prompting means encouraging the learner to use what they already know and can do. A prompt often takes the form of a question and involves allowing “wait time” to give students the opportunity to develop and express their own ideas.
Questioning is perhaps the instructional tool used most commonly by teachers. Strategic and purposeful questioning is crucial to students’ literacy learning. Questioning may unlock the understanding of a student who is struggling with an aspect of their reading or writing by giving them clear guidance towards what they need to do.
Feedback is most effective when it relates to specific learning goals and to the ultimate goal of enabling students to monitor and regulate their own learning.
Feedback may be verbal or non-verbal, spoken or written. The quality of the teacher’s written feedback on a student’s writing is especially important, both for providing further guidance and for the student’s confidence.
An important message for teachers to convey to students is that using effective strategies in their reading and writing is what caused their success; this is crucial to building students’ metacognition. It’s especially useful to encourage students themselves to suggest what they could do. This is a great way to build their awareness of how they can take control of their learning.
Telling can mean providing information about when to use a particular literacy strategy in a given task – making explicit the fact that the students can apply their existing knowledge at this point and so building their awareness of when to apply that knowledge in future situations. Telling students when to apply their expertise is particularly useful for students who are experiencing difficulties in reading or writing.
Explaining can be thought of as an extension of telling. Teachers may explain the task itself, or they may explain the content of a text or learning activity.
Directing is simply giving a specific instruction. Like all these instructional strategies, it is used deliberately, for a purpose.