Elementary Literacy Support

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How can you inspire your students to find their inner writer? What tools do they need to more effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas? Where are the writing genres taught in Houghton Mifflin? Find answers to these questions and more on The Literacy Circle Writing Page.


Houghton Mifflin
Writing Frameworks

Houghton Mifflin is a spiraling curriculum. Each year students encounter many of the same concepts at increasingly deeper and more involved levels. This holds true for writing, too. Beginning in Kindergarten with modeled and shared writing, Houghton Mifflin provides a basic foundation for your writer’s workshop. HM themes include five days of writing instruction and samples of student writing in grade level anthologies (beginning with first grade). These Frameworks are a map of the writing genres and forms used within the themes at each grade level.


Web sites



Sample Lessons

Grade 1


Grade 2


Grade 3

Grade 4


Grade 5

Cindy Forsyth, retired ASD elementary teacher and Alaska Writing Consortium Instructor, has designed lessons to correlate the Houghton Mifflin Reading and Writing Program. These lessons offer ideas for supplementary mentor texts (well-written trade books), tips on teaching the writing process, and 6-Traits Writing rubrics for assessment.  Students learn the fine points of being a writer and the magic of the written word.


ASD K-6 teachers are encouraged to create and share their own Houghton Mifflin / Mentor Text lessons. See Aimee Campbell's Grade 3 lesson, "Instructions,"  and Jo Ellen Munoz's Grade 2 lesson, "Color Poems," at right for examples. Additional lessons can be found by grade level in the Teacher Sharing pages.


Writing Workshop is a framework for teaching, encouraging and letting young author’s share their work. The workshop usually begins with a teacher-directed mini-lesson based on class needs and student skills. Students participate in all stages of the writing process, including peer and teacher conferences. Workshop ends with “author’s chair,” an opportunity for students to share their writing.


The Writing Process

Here in a nutshell is the writing process. Remember it is a process, writing takes time. Check the Web sites below for further information.

  • Prewriting: Generating ideas
  • Drafting: Writing ideas
  • Responding: Receiving feedback and questions
  • Revising: Improving and polishing ideas
  • Editing: Correcting spelling and grammar
  • Publishing: Presenting the finished writing

Writing Process Web Sites



Professional Books


fletcher book


"Writing Workshop K-8, The Essential Guide" by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi

More about this book »


Rog book


"Marvelous Minilessons for Teaching Beginning Writing, K-3" by Lori Jamison Rog

More about this book »


Overmyer book


“When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working” by Mark Overmyer

More about this book »


calkins book

"Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum for K-2" by Lucy Calkins and Colleagues from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

More about this series »




"Units of Study for Primary Writing : A Yearlong Curriculum for Grades 3-5" by Lucy Calkins and Colleagues from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

More about this series »



* A link to book publishers is provided here in order to read a description of the text; however ASD does not specifically endorse these publishers.




What is "good" writing? How do I grade writing? 6-Traits is an assessment tool to help teach and evaluate the following traits:  
Houghton Mifflin 6 Traits Correlations
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1. Ideas - the heart of the message, what the writer is saying

2. Organization - the structure, how the writing is put together

3. Voice - the unique flavor and tone of the author's message

4. Word Choice – the vocabulary used to convey meaning and tone

5. Sentence Fluency - the rhythm and flow of the language

6. Conventions - the mechanics; spelling, punctuation, syntax


Web Sites


Professional Books


Six + One book


“6 + 1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide for the Primary Grades” by Ruth Culham

More about this book »


spandel book


“Creating Writers through 6-Trait Writing” by Vicki Spandel

More about this book »


* A link to book publishers is provided here in order to read a description of the text; however ASD does not specifically endorse these publishers.

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Writer’s Toolbox

What tools are in your literacy toolbox? Try out these resources and Web site tools for spelling, grammar, writing, and technology.



Houghton Mifflin correlates spelling patterns with the sound spellings introduced in phonics lessons. As the program spirals through the grades, affixes and root words are also addressed. Check out the following sites to enhance your spelling program.


HM Spelling Challenge Words (PDF files)


Recommended Web Resources


Do your students remember to capitalize and use sentence punctuation?  Is their comma use correct, confused or catastrophic?  Here are some sites to help get grammar under control:




Go to the GLEs


Motivating ways to publish final writing pieces:



Web 2.0 Applications


Search Engine


Web Sites

  • Districtwide Technology Resources
    Great resources for technology and on-line writing
  • Atomic Learning
    Individual instruction on computer tasks and teacher resources (ASD has a license for this site.)
  • Discovery Streaming
    Curricular Resources - concept-level video clips, virtual labs, interactives, audio files, lesson plans. (ASD has a license for this site.)
  • Kerpoof
    Create Original artwork, animated movies, stories, and more
  • Scholastic Story Starters
    Generate a creative story starter, pick a format, write and print