|Home | Writing Grade by Grade | Reading | Workshop Help Desk | Principal's Guide | Buy it Now!|
A Quick Guide to Reaching Struggling Writers, K–5
This book is intended to help those of us who have students in our classrooms who don't write.
In other words, this book is for every teacher who has a writing workshop. We all know that no two students are alike. So it stands to reason that no two struggling students will need exactly the same kind of teaching.
Before we explore what each student comes to us knowing and believing about writing, we must first try to leave all of our misconceptions at the proverbial door. It is only then that we can best find the right strategies that will fit each student.
There are, of course, as many different kinds of struggles as there are faces of students. However, for the purposes of this book, I have explored the six most common things students say to us while shooting up the flare to let us know they are in trouble:
Some students may never have said these things, but you can almost see the thought bubbles above their heads. Some students' struggles fit into more than one category. Some students' struggles fall firmly into one. You will also notice that sometimes one struggle can affect another.
My hope is that you will flip directly to the chapters that address the struggles most urgently uttered in your classroom right now. Each chapter is organized into three major sections meant to be of practical help right away:
The work in this book comes from my experiences as a classroom teacher in New York City, working with both general education and special education populations. The students discussed in this book are composites created from the hundreds of students I've worked with and learned from over the years. My rehearsal for this book has spanned years and has included not only the days I spent teaching but also the evenings I spent torturing myself over a garbled notebook or over the realization that the student I'd dismissed the day before had been pleading for help.
I've also culled a bulk of these ideas from my current colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, where I work as a literacy consultant in New York City schools and across the country. Lucy Calkins, the founding director of the Project, in addition to being one of my primary mentors, was instrumental in pushing me to think and rethink my ideas about how to best help all students learn to write better. My other main influences for this book were Mel Levine, Donald Graves, Katie Wood Ray, Carl Anderson, Lev Vygotsky, and Katherine Bomer. Countless teachers, administrators, service providers, and students have offered up suggestions, crystallized my thinking, and challenged me in ways that you will see over and over again in the pages of this book.
It is also worth noting that I am working from the assumption that you either have a writing workshop up and going in your classroom or plan to have one very soon. I am assuming that you teach your students writing on a daily basis. You teach students to think of writing as a process, and your students have choice of topics, voice, and sometimes of structure in their writing. You teach units across the year that focus on process and genre-for example, one unit might invite students to write poetry and another might spotlight revision. Writing workshop is the teaching method I was raised in and immersed in since I first entered this profession and I embrace it in the book. It is challenging for me to think outside of its boundaries. That said, even if you do not have a writing workshop, with a little interpretation, you will probably find that many of the strategies I propose in this book will work for your classroom as well.
|Home About the Authors A Quick Guide to... A Quick Guide to Teaching Informational Writing, Grade 2 Reviving Disengaged Writers, 5-8 Teaching Reading Through Fantasy Novels, 5-8 Reaching Struggling Writers Making Your Teaching Stick Teaching Persuasive Writing Boosting English Acquisition in Choice Time Teaching Second-Grade Writers with Units of Study Buy Now!|
Copyrightę 2013 Heinemann. A division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All Rights Reserved.