Reading- Writing Connections -Research and Reflection

I have worked in Liana Ketriuk’s Grade 4 classroom at Cairnlea Park Primary School numerous times over the past two years and have witnessed the growth of her students as well as Liana’s teaching during that time. She recently presented a lesson that demonstrated her clear understanding of the important relationship reading and writing shares.

Liana began the lesson with a discussion aimed at activating prior knowledge. What does the word home mean to you? Turn and talk.’  Students then shared some of their responses with the whole class. She followed this by reading aloud from Libby Hathorn’s thought provoking picture-story book, ‘Way Home.’ The book highlights a young boy’s struggle to provide sanctuary to a wild, stray cat. Set in a city, the story provides the reader with graphic evidence surrounding the plight of the homeless.

Liana encouraged talk and discussion among her students at the conclusion of the reading. In the discussion that followed Liana devoted time to clarifying the use of idiomatic language (a feature of this text) and the use of the referent pronoun through out the text.
What can you infer about the main character?
Has your concept of home changed? How? Tell your partner.

Liana asked her students to spend a few minutes recording their thoughts in their literature journals. She followed this reflective writing by inviting students to participate in a silent share. Each student displayed their journal entries on their tables. The class walked the room silently reading each others words.

Students were asked to return to their journals and continue writing. The follow up responses provided clear evidence that insights had deepened Exposure to a broad range of views had clearly impacted on the writing that ensued.

To further deepen student awareness of this social issue, Liana provided her students with additional opportunities to broaden their world knowledge by presenting a series of enlarged photographs depicting aspects of homelessness around the world. Students were provided with post it notes and as they inspected the photographs they wrote personal responses to the scenes on display. They posed questions, and pondered ways to overcome these situations. Following this, they returned to their journals and continued capturing their thoughts, ideas, and observations. To conclude the lesson, the class gathered and students shared personal reflections, and new understandings. For me, it was interesting to see the writing develop greater depth as the lesson unfolded.

This was a lesson rich in opportunities to read, write, think, discuss and learn.  Students were engaged in learning that further developed their word knowledge, as well as their world knowledge. Liana strengthened the reading-writing links for her students through mindful teaching and thorough preparation.


  1. Terrific lesson.

    Alan -- I was hoping to try this lesson with a 4/5/6 composite group next week. It is a small group of 10 children. I was wondering about the final part of the lesson, involving the photos -- what sort of prompts did the teacher use to encourage students to write about these images? Was the focus on what home meant for these people, or on what issues the children felt the pictures demonstrated, and how these issues could be addressed by a community? I can see in the images posted on your article that the teacher provided a brief blurb sheet underneath each picture -- what sort of things did that piece of paper say?

    I was planning on showing a few different images -- one or two of homeless people with their meager posessions, another with a decidedly middle-class family in their home and one of a super-rich person/family in a mansion.

    Would you have any suggestions for questioning or changes about how to approach this final part of the activity to sum up the learning/exploration of the lesson in a meaningful way?

    PS: Jonathan from Wyndham Park Primary School here -- hello!


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