Middle school teachers have four to five sections of writing classes, which can translate into 100 to 150 students. Having to read, confer, and offer feedback on that amount of writing is frustrating and exhausting; it often results in teachers asking their students to do less
writing, even though the research clearly shows that not only does writing frequently improve writing—it also improves reading comprehension (Writing to Read
, Graham & Hebert, 2010).
Inviting students to help one another and provide feedback while they plan, draft, revise, and edit means students improve their writing before
teachers read the work. Responding to these drafts takes less teacher time because many issues have already been addressed.
Peer partnerships can be formal, created by the teacher and given a specific purpose. They can also be informal, allowing students to choose their partners and the focus of the feedback. In a workshop, students might work informally with one to three peers each time class meets, based on the writers’ needs and their classmates’ expertise in the area that requires feedback.
Please share how you use writing partnerships in your classes.