Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 11

Accepted Abstracts

The Organic Integration of Reading & Writing through Thematic Journeys

David Rothman, Queensborough College: City University of New York (CUNY) (United States)

Jilani Warsi, Queensborough College: City University of New York (CUNY) (United States)


English language learners enrolled in American universities face the tremendous challenge of competing with native speakers of English in courses across the academic disciplines, which often demand strong skills in both reading and writing. Second language writing has mostly been taught as an independent entity as if it were somehow divorced from reading. However, over the last few years, many university systems in the U.S. have considered a departure from the traditional method of teaching reading and writing skills in isolation, and have moved toward a more integrated approach. Building on Community College Research Center’s (CCRC) groundbreaking research findings on methods of integrating reading and writing instruction, this article reinforces the idea that the task of skill integration is not simply a process of throwing together traditional reading and writing curricula, but rather celebrating the reciprocal response relationship of reading and writing. It is our contention that such an approach will make a more lasting impact on second language learners’ writing proficiency.

Clearly, reading is the food for writing, and writing is enriched by exposure to vast amounts of reading. An integrated approach ensures that students are given the opportunity to follow the organic path from reading and reflecting on what they have read, to exploring their thoughts in writing. In addition, integration does not stop after students write their first draft. In fact, integration is further extended as students think about what they have written, revise their preliminary draft and read more for reference and cite other works.

In teaching L2 writing, we propose an integrated model that focuses on a series of thematic units revolving around popular academic disciplines, (e.g., psychology, business, health) and weaves a narrative rich in reading, reflection on ideas, and written responses.

     This paper extends the discussion laid out in a recently published chapter , co-written with my CUNY colleage , Jilani Warsi (“The organic Integration of Reading and Writing Through Thematic Journeys”, Rothman/Warsi in Writing Suggestions for improvement    in ESL and EFL contexts, Koban, Didem (ed.) Dagyeli Verlag, Berlin. 2017.)



English for Academic Purposes, Language Teaching, Reading/Writing Instruction


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