Embracing complexity: Integrating reading, writing, and learning in intervention settings

Katherine K. Frankel, Elizabeth L. Jaeger, P. David Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose – Our purpose in this chapter is to argue for the importance of integrating reading and writing in classrooms and to provide examples of what integration of this nature looks like in classrooms across content areas and grade levels. Design/methodology/approach – In this chapter we provide an overview of the argument for reading–writing integration, highlight four common tools (skill decomposition, skill decontextualization, scaffolding, and authenticity) that teachers use to cope with complexity in literacy classrooms, and describe four classrooms in which teachers strive to integrate reading and writing in support of learning. Findings – We provide detailed examples and analyses of what the integration of reading and writing in the service of learning looks like in four different classroom contexts and focus particularly on how the four teachers use scaffolding and authenticity to cope with complexity and support their students’ literacy learning. Research limitations/implications – We intentionally highlight four noteworthy approaches to literacy instruction, but our examples are relevant to specific contexts and are not meant to encompass the range of promising practices in which teachers and students engage on a daily basis. Practical implications – In this chapter we provide classroom teachers with four concrete tools for coping with the complexities of literacy instruction in classroom settings and highlight what instruction of this nature – with an emphasis on scaffolding and authenticity – looks like in four different classroom contexts. Originality/value of chapter – Teachers and other educational stake-holders must acknowledge and embrace the complexities of learning to read and write, so that students have opportunities to engage in rich and authentic literacy practices in their classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalLiteracy Research, Practice and Evaluation
StatePublished - May 22 2013


  • Instruction
  • Intervention
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Reading
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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