Targeted Writing Resources: A Primer

What Are Targeted Writing Resources?

Targeted Writing Resources (TWRs) are exactly that—a collection of instructional resources targeted to specific student needs in writing. Each of these lessons is intended to respond to a demonstrated need by providing a small bit of direct instructional information, followed by a clear task requiring students to use or practice that instruction in the context of a writing response they are already developing. The lessons close with recommendations to students about how to integrate this writing into the draft they are writing or revising.


How Are They Designed?

Content Agnostic: Any TWR is intended to be used during the writing process of any task within the same genre. That is, any time a student is writing or revising an argument paper—no matter the text it is responding to—they should be able to further reflect on and develop their writing by working through any argument-focused TWR.

Differentiated: All of the TWRs address skills reflected in the Common Core State Standards for ELA and in the Inquiry By Design integrated ELA rubrics. In many cases, there are multiple TWRs addressing the same skill at different levels. For example, students who have not included any counterclaims at all in their writing might begin by working through Introducing Counterclaims, while students who have included them but not perfected them might benefit most from Developing Counterclaims Fairly and With Evidence or Incorporating Counterclaims into Organization.

Familiar: TWRs follow the same format and natural progression in each lesson, beginning with focused instruction (“Understanding Expectations”), followed by guided practice (“Playing the ____ Game” or “Trying It Out”), and ending with “Writing It Up.” In addition to being a familiar progression for teachers, the common format helps build a sense of familiarity with students as well, balancing the need for routine (with common structure) and novelty (with new information and tasks).

Flexible: You may find that the whole class needs to work on the same skill and decide to use the TWRs for whole-class instruction and practice. In some areas, you may find different groupings of needs and set 2-4 different groups of students to work on TWRs that fit their common needs. You may even find that some students’ needs are highly individualized, and set them to work specifically on the most applicable TWR you’ve selected for them. Whole group, small group, individual—TWRs are flexible.

Brief: Each TWR is designed to take students through a round of creating or revising material in one class session.


How Should They Be Used?

The idea behind TWRs is that students should have an opportunity to learn and practice writing skills in the context of writing tasks they are already working on. Rather than piling on new and inauthentic writing tasks, the TWRs seek to amplify the writing and revision process of existing work.

Teachers can determine which TWRs best fit their students’ needs by reviewing student work with the Inquiry By Design integrated ELA rubric: each score on the rubric corresponds to skills and lessons in the TWR list. The list of TWRs under each rubric score reflects the skills a student needs to develop in order to reach the next highest score on the rubric.