Integrated writing is an very common type of academic writing. Integrated means you will use your reading and/or listening skills to help you write. Sometimes you will do this to show that you understand the reading or listening. Sometimes writing about the ideas from the reading or listening includes comparing/contrasting or writing your own opinion on the topic.
Usually, an integrated task allows you to look at the reading or review the listening (or at least the notes you took) when you write. However, there may be times when there is a time limit (like on a quiz or test). This means that you need to understand the first time you listen/read so you can begin writing quickly.
At this level, we want you to understand what integrated writing is. You will continue to practice and improve this type of writing in future levels.
Integrated Writing Expectations
When you start an integrated writing assignment, there are two main things to think about: source content and task.
First, you need to understand the ideas in the reading or listening. You cannot summarize, compare, or give an opinion about the original ideas if you don't completely understand them. In addition to main ideas and major details, think about the following questions:
- Is there one required source material or multiple?
- Is the content written or spoken?
- How complex are the ideas presented?
- How does this connect to other ideas we have talked about in this class (or another class)? Should I include these connections in my writing, or can I only write about this specific source?
- What connections are there between the different sources?
When you read and/or listen, ask yourself some questions to make sure you get all of the necessary information:
- Who is writing? Who is the audience? Are people being discussed? (who)
- What is the main idea? What important details are included? (what)
- Is place important to this topic? (where)
- Is time important to this topic? (when)
- What purpose does the author have in saying/writing this? (why)
- How is the information organized? (how)
These are all skills you will continue to practice in your listening and reading classes. Pay attention to the strategies you learn and try writing summaries of what you understood after each class period to practice this skill.
The next step is to make sure you understand what you need to do with the information you get from the sources.
Questions to think about for integrated writing
- Is one source more important than another?
- Is this a comparison, summary, opinion, or cause-effect task?
- What does the teacher expect in my answer?
- Can I include my own opinion or background knowledge?
- Am I expected to include direct quotes/references to the text or to write about it in a summary and paraphrase?
- Is there a time limit for reviewing the source and/or writing my response?
Examples of integrated writing prompts
- Explain the two authors' different opinions on how to to decide which university to attend. Choose at least three points in your comparison.
- Read the newspaper article and explain if the opinion has enough strong support to convince the reader.
- Read two paragraphs from the textbook, then listen to the professor's opinion on the same topic. What reasons does the professor give for disagreeing with the reading?
Writing with Time Limits
An outline will always benefit you. Writing without a plan creates a disorganized answer that loses focus. Read the prompt carefully and make a simple outline of ideas from the source(s). Include any specific words or phrases that you need to include.
Second, be honest about the time you have to work on this task. Look at the source material to check the time it will take to read or listen to it. Next, look at the due date and your personal schedule and decide how much time you have to work on this project. Will you have time to write multiple drafts? Is there time to have a classmate review your writing or to visit the campus Writing Center?
Exercise 1: Integrated Writing Practice
- Read the passage.
- Listen to the lecture.
- Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.
Teachers have access to the "Supersititions" Integrated Writing files on the ELC Curriculum Portfolio.