Weekly Writer - an Evidence-Based Curriculum Resource

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2022

A product of Darren J. Butler, LLC

Independent Study by AMY ENGLAND




Weekly Writer is an online curriculum resource for kindergarten - 8th grade teachers and students. The online resource contains two hundred hours of videos with Mr. Butler modeling the writing process for teachers and students. Teachers have the ability to pull the resources into an LMS platform to create assignments for individual and group instruction with peer and teacher review. The resource contains a close reading comprehension strategy - Read Interpret Predict (RIP), with texts that model the implementation of the strategy in sample grade appropriate passages in non-fiction and fiction. Teachers have access to all grade levels in their yearly subscription allowing for differentiating instruction as needed.


Weekly Writer was created on sound educational research and theories developed by writing consultant, Darren J. Butler. Prior to launch of the product, Mr. Butler conducted field research to prove the validity and impact of his writing process and close reading strategy. Since the release of Weekly Writer, Mr. Butler has tracked data from subscription holders to ensure the consistency of the impact the product has on student writing and close reading comprehension. 



Darren J. Butler holds an MFA in Writing from Point Park University and a BA in English/Creative Writing. He is a published author, a playwright, and a screenwriter. His work has won awards in the United States and internationally. He travels the country as a speaker with the Premiere Speakers Bureau to talk about writing and reading comprehension with elementary and secondary students. 



Weekly Writer can be compared to the Six Traits of Writing. The two programs share the same elements of word usage, planning, revising/editing, and following a process. Where Weekly Writer differs is the use of technology to provide modeling videos of a strategic writing process. While the Six Traits of Writing are elements of good writing, Weekly Writer utilizes a process to help students work step by step to create a piece of writing with organization, style, and voice. Furthermore, modeling is the key element - the secret sauce. Not only does it give a great example for the students, it builds the confidence of the classroom teacher to implement writing across the curriculum with a consistent writing process. 



Teachers implement Weekly Writer on a smart board for large or small group instruction. Students can utilize the resource on tablets and personal computers. 

The “Let’s Write” element focuses on teaching the process of writing. A classroom teacher shows   the weekly video of Mr. Butler modeling each step of the writing process in one of the four modes of writing - descriptive, narrative, explanatory, or persuasive. The steps of the process include “Understand” the task at hand, “Brainstorm” for many, different and unusual ideas, “Plan” using bullets, “Write” based on the bullet plan, “Revise” the content, and “Edit” for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. 

Teachers will show Mr. Butler’s modeling video for one or two steps, pause the video, and turn around teach the same step or steps modeled in the video. Students and teachers have the benefit of watching Mr. Butler model the process. Teachers receive job-embedded professional development while watching Mr. Butler model the process. In real time, they turn-around teach the same steps to their students face to face. This allows the teacher to learn new skills in teaching writing, become confident in teaching the writing process, and provide an example to their students. Students benefit from being inspired by Mr. Butler’s enthusiasm and passion for writing, and they have direct benefit from their classroom teacher working with them face to face to guide the instruction and implementation of the writing process. 

Teachers work through the lesson video in this manner until they reach the final step. At that point, the classroom teacher allows the students to implement what they have learned into a prompt provided in the program or one they generate themselves. 

On paper or in an LMS platform, students write and have their writing reviewed by the classroom teacher as well as peer review. 



In the testing phase, schools experienced the following increases in assessment on the Alabama Direct Assessment on Writing. The percentages listed below refer to the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in the holistic assessment of writing. 



Before Using Weekly Writer

After Using Weekly Writer

Year Two of Using Weekly Writer

Eva School 5th grade




Eva School 7th grade




West Morgan Elementary - 5th grade




Falkville Elementary - 5th grade




Chestnut Grove Elementary - 5th grade




Eastwood Elementary - 5th grade










  •  Modeling
  •  Scripting
  •  Video Modeling
  •  Task Analysis
  •  Technology-Aided Instruction

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