Writing Across the Curriculum Model

The Collins Writing Program provides a proven, unified, research-based writing program that can be used in all classrooms, in all subject areas, and at all grades K-12. It equips all teachers with writing strategies designed to help students understand and remember content like no other teaching technique.

The program is organized around Five Types of Writing and the outcomes expected for each. The Five Types of Writing assignments develop students’ essential writing and thinking skills in the context of their everyday classroom learning. The Five Types of Writing framework can be used strategically to meet the unique requirements of each content area whether they are:

  • informal and routine, or more formal
  • short or long
  • research-based or experienced-based
  • critical or creative
  • informative, argumentative, or narrative

The program is truly designed for real teachers working under real conditions. It is not designed to turn all teachers into English teachers. Science, math, social studies, foreign language, career and technical education, and other teachers all have more than enough of their own content to cover. Rather, this program is designed to enable teachers to use writing in their content areas to help students achieve academically. Requiring students to regularly think on paper promotes learning.

Teachers use frequent, usually short, writing assignments to increase students’ involvement in lessons, check on their understanding of concepts, and promote their thinking about content. Here are some examples of writing assignments that the program suggests students might do to engage actively in the content of the lesson:

  • Identify relevant information they “know” about a new concept or topic just before it is presented to them
  • Take a concept from a text or other source and put it into their own words i.e., paraphrase it or summarize it
  • Make a connection between a concept from class and something else they know about or have experienced in their own lives
  • Explain how ideas are similar (despite their differences) or different (despite their similarities)
  • Critique an answer or procedure to identify weaknesses or missteps

For a detailed program overview read  Chapter 1 of our foundation book, The Collins Writing Program: Improving Student Performance Through Writing and Thinking Across the Curriculum.