During the revising stage, writers refine ideas in their compositions. Students often break the writing process cycle as soon as they complete a rough draft, believing that once they have jotted down their ideas, the writing task is complete. Experienced writ-ers, however, know they must turn to others for reactions and revise on the basis of these comments. Revision is not just polishing; it is meeting the needs of readers by adding, substituting, deleting, and rearranging material. Revision means " seeing again," and in this stage, writers see their compositions again with the help of classmates and the teacher. Revising consists of three activities: rereading the rough draft, sharing the rough draft in a writing group, and revising on the basis of feedback. Editing is putting the piece of writing into its final form. Until this stage, the focus has been primarily on the content of students' writing. Once the focus changes to mechan-ics, students polish their writing by correcting spelling mistakes and other mechanical errors. Mechanics are the commonly accepted conventions of written Standard English; they consist of capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, usage, and formatting considerations specific to poems, scripts, letters, and other writing gen-res. The use of these commonly accepted conventions is a courtesy to those who will read the composition. Students are more efficient editors if they set the composition aside for a few days before beginning to edit. After working so closely with a piece of writing during draft-ing and revising, they're too familiar with it to notice many mechanical errors. With the distance gained by waiting a few days, students are better able to approach editing with a fresh perspective and gather the enthusiasm necessary to finish the writing process. Then students move through two activities in the editing stage: proofreading to locate errors and correcting the ones they find. Reading and writing are reciprocal; they're both constructive, meaning- making processes. Researchers have found that reading leads to better writing, and writing has the same effect on reading ( Spivey, 1997). Not surprisingly, they've also learned that integrating instruction improves both reading and writing ( Tierney & Shanahan, 1991). It's possible that students use the same type of thinking for both reading and writing ( Braunger & Lewis, 2006). Readers participate in many of the same activities that writers use— activating background knowledge, setting purposes, determining importance, monitoring, repairing, and evaluating. Teachers begin teaching letters of the alphabet using two sources of words— children's own names and environmental print. They teach the ABC song to provide children with a strategy for identifying the name of an unknown letter. Children learn to sing this song and point to each letter on an alphabet chart until they reach the unfa-miliar one; this is a very useful strategy because it gives them a real sense of indepen-dence in identifying letters. Teachers also provide routines, activities, and games for talking about and manipulating letters. During these familiar, predictable activities, teachers and children say letter names, manipulate magnetic letters, and write letters on dry- erase boards. At first, the teacher structures and guides the activities, but with experience, the children internalize the routine and do it independently, often at a lit-eracy center. Figure 4- 1 presents 10 routines to teach the letters of the alphabet. This stage marks children's growing awareness of the alphabetic principle. Children learn about phoneme- grapheme correspondences, phonics rules in words such as run, hand, this, make, day, and road, and word families, including - ill ( fill, hill, will ) and - ake ( bake, make, take). They also apply ( and misapply) their developing phonics knowledge to spell words. For example, they spell night as NIT and train as TRANE. At the same time, they're learning to read and write high- frequency words, many of which can't be sounded out, such as what, are, and there. Phonics is a controversial topic. Some parents and politicians, as well as even a few teach-ers, believe that most of our educational ills could be solved if children were taught to read using phonics. A few people still argue that phonics is a complete reading program, but that view ignores what we know about the interrelatedness of the four cueing systems. Reading is a complex process, and the phonological system works in conjunction with the semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic systems, not in isolation. The controversy now centers on the best way to teach phonics. Marilyn Adams ( 1990), in her landmark review of the research on phonics instruction, recommends that phonics be taught within a balanced approach that integrates instruction in reading strategies and skills with meaningful opportunities for reading and writing. She emphasizes that phonics instruction should focus on the most useful informa-tion for identifying words, that it should be systematic and intensive, and that it should be completed by third grade. Less successful readers exemplify few of the characteristics of capable readers or behave differently when they are reading and writing. Perhaps the most remarkable dif-ference is that more capable readers view reading as a process of comprehending or cre-ating meaning, whereas less capable readers focus on decoding. In writing, less capable writers make cosmetic changes when they revise, rather than changes to communicate meaning more effectively. These important differences indicate that capable students focus on comprehension and the strategies readers and writers use to understand what they read and to make sure that what they write will be comprehensible to others. Another important difference between capable and less capable readers and writers is that those who are less successful aren't strategic. They are naive. They seem reluctant to use unfamiliar strategies or those that require much effort. They don't seem to be motivated or to expect that they'll be successful. Less capable readers and writers don't understand or use all stages of the reading and writing processes effec-tively. They don't monitor their reading and writing ( Keene & Zimmermann, 2007). Or, if they do use strategies, they remain dependent on primitive ones. For example, as they read, less successful readers seldom look ahead or back into the text to clarify misunderstandings or make plans. Or, when they come to an unfamiliar word, they often stop reading, unsure of what to do. They may try to sound out an unfamiliar word, but if that's unsuccessful, they give up. In contrast, capable readers know a vari-ety of strategies, and if one strategy isn't successful, they try another. Less capable writers move through the writing process in a lockstep, linear approach. They use a limited number of strategies, most often a " knowledge- telling" strategy in which they write everything they know about a topic with little thought to choosing infor-mation to meet the needs of their readers or to organizing the information to put related ideas together ( Faigley et al., 1985). In contrast, capable writers understand the recursive nature of the writing process and turn to classmates for feedback about how well they're communicating. They are more responsive to the needs of the audience that will read their writing, and they work to organize their writing in a cohesive manner. Researchers have documented that when teachers teach students about text factors, their comprehension increases ( Fisher, Frey, & Lapp, 2008; Sweet & Snow, 2003). In addition, when students are familiar with the genres, organizational patterns, and literary devices in books they're reading, they're better able to create those text factors in their own writing ( Buss & Karnowski, 2002). It's not enough to focus on stories, however; students need to learn about a variety of genres.