Teaching Children to Write

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9780130951946: Teaching Children to Write

All chapters in this comprehensive book are heavily supported by research from the earliest masters of the writing process to the most recent authorities in the field. That research is translated into practical workshop application. A strong reading-writing focus connects reading and literature with the unique components and competencies of learning how to write. Throughout the book, a wide range of children's writing samples provide practical and realistic exposure to the kind of writing children can be expected to produce in a real classroom. Also offered are practical suggestions for discovering children's learning styles and intelligence. Chapter topics include thematic units and lesson plans, writing assessment, grammar and writing, revising and publishing, turning ideas into words, expressive writing, literary writing, poetry, informative writing, argument and persuasion, and report writing. For elementary, middle school, and junior high level pre-service teachers who will be focusing on teaching their students to write.

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From the Inside Flap:

Preface

Throughout the ages, rhetoric and writing have been significant factors in making and preserving history. Aristotle's logic and his advice about the use of the language around 200 b.c., Gutenberg's creation of the printing press in the 15th century, and the 20th century's gift of technology—all were born of our ability to use and communicate in written language. It is widely recognized that literacy is the mark of an educated person and that a high level of literacy is critical to achieve and maintain a democratic society. How, then, can it be anything but an essential part in our teaching?

Teaching children to write is an awesome responsibility. Since expressing ideas in writing is a basic tenet of literacy, as teachers are obligated to help students become competent, if not accomplished, writers. The purpose of this text is to help teachers successfully accomplish this task.

Other subjects such as reading, mathematics, science, and social studies have relatively standard content and methods along with a plethora of texts, how-to manuals, and directives from state and school district documents. Writing, on the other hand, is often more difficult to teach. Even though curriculum documents identify specific competencies for student success, there are few state-adopted texts, and how-to teaching manuals are almost nonexistent. Teachers are often left on their own to find the necessary resources for teaching writing. Many use trial-and-error methods until they finally settle on some strategies that seem successful, for at least some of their students.

College curricula share some responsibility for the lack of teachers' preparation for teaching writing. In our experience, most preservice and beginning teachers feel far less prepared to teach children to write than they do to teach the other subject areas. Part of this difficulty may come from the widely differing theories about the best strategies for writing instruction. For .example, some theorists say that giving children instruction in writing stifles their creativity, while others maintain that students must first learn to develop accurate sentence structures before writing. In one case, children write and write and write without focus on the writing conventions. In the other case, children focus on grammar, sentence diagramming, spelling, and mechanics to the exclusion of developing meaningful thought.

Teaching Children to Write: Theory into Practice blends differing theories into an approach that provides preservice teachers with the solid content and preparation they need to enter the workshop or writing classroom with confidence in their abilities to teach children to write. At the same time, it shows them how to provide children with the freedom they need for creative authorship. Understanding and Using the Text

Along the margin of each page are quotations from leading researchers and practitioners in the field of writing. These kernels of theory and practice are invaluable to instructors as well as preservice teachers for six reasons.

They reinforce the content and practical application of the text. They support the research base and validity of the text. They familiarize preservice teachers with the names of leaders in the field of teaching and writing. They offer topics for discussion among the preservice teachers. They suggest topics and references for further study. They provide a format that makes the text accessible to students.

The multiple intelligences (M Is) theory is introduced in the first chapter. We believe it is a strong factor in successful teaching in the writing workshop. Suggestions for using a multiple intelligences approach are interwoven throughout the book, and a list of possible applications, "Emphasizing the Multiple Intelligences," appears near the end of each chapter. We suggest that the MIs are an essential element of our preservice teachers' evaluation of their own strengths and of the learning strengths of the children they will teach.

A "Theory into Practice" section is the culmination of each chapter and offers discussion questions, topics, and hands-on applications. Activities range from lesson planning to cooperative group work to developing children's literature collections for a teacher's writing workshop. This section is intended for use in the college classroom and in a field-based setting, if one is available.

Several chapters end with a list of children's literature that is applicable to the specific kind of writing presented in the chapter; a bibliography of the professional references in the chapter is also included. This feature facilitates the preservice teacher's search for materials necessary for lesson planning, research papers, and projects.

Each chapter stands alone as a unit for study and discussion. The textbook begins with the basics of teaching that help create a smooth-running writing workshop: student intelligences and learning styles, teaching techniques, strategies to meet individual needs, classroom setting and governance, group work, lesson design, and writing expanded across the curriculum. A chapter on writing assessment methods and their effective applications as teaching tools provides important information for new teachers of writing. An effective approach to integrating grammar into the writing process also appears before preservice teachers delve into the specific strategies for teaching the purposes of writing. Many writing texts skip over these essentials, assuming that they are taught in other courses. We feel strongly that preservice teachers' understanding of these basic essentials largely determines their success in the writing workshop.

Following the essentials presented in the beginning chapters, the text then moves into the deeper content of teaching children to write in a variety of genres and for a variety of purposes, beginning with journal writing and ending with report writing. Since some preservice teachers are preparing for kindergarten and others for eighth grade, we have included topics ranging from helping beginning writers express their thoughts by drawing pictures, to the more sophisticated expression of argument and persuasion. In addition, preservice teachers are encouraged by chapter activities to practice writing in the genres and modes presented so that they are experiencing the writing process that they will be teaching, a habit that the successful teacher of writing must develop.

Since each chapter stands alone, instructors can follow the order that best suits their needs and the needs of their students as they move through the semester. Teaching Children to Write: Theory into Practice can be used as a text for undergraduate or graduate writing courses, or as one of a series of texts for language arts courses. Teachers in the field will find it a useful reference in their classrooms. Acknowledgments

We extend our deep gratitude and thanks to the many colleagues, family, and friends who have supported our efforts and encouraged us along the way. Our special thanks also to those of our students who have taught us what it means to be teachers of writing and "teachers of teachers" of writing. They have been our best teachers. We express our appreciation to the many preservice teachers at Texas A&M University who proved that they could enter a classroom with confidence and enthusiasm for sharing their love of writing with others. We thank the children at Jones Elementary School in Bryan, Texas, and at Southwood Valley Elementary School, in College Station, Texas, who were excited to see the preservice teachers from our Writing Buddy Program arriving to write with them each week. Thanks to dedicated teacher of writing Marisa C. Suhm for sharing her personal journals.

We especially thank those children at Rock Prairie Elementary School and College Station Middle School in College Station, Texas, whose writing samples and photographs appear in our text. Authors whose work appears in the text include: Arnie Adams; Ethan Alden; Zachary Baker; Sara Bennett; Sarah Bosse; Ashley Browder; Ellen Bruxvoort; Jessica Campbell; Rebeca Carranza; Daniel Cherbonnier; Deepak Chona; Leyla Choobineh; Nick Commella; Chris Connor; Shannon DuBose; Erick Feng; Thane Fox; Joshua Gantt; Stephen Gehring; Kim Gent; Cole Hanks; Jud Holt; Whitney Holt; Stacey Ingram; Darien Jochen; Vincent Jochen; Ashley Joiner; Georgie Kenney; Paula Kim; Mark Knight; Alex Liu; Brian Liu; Matthew Maddux; Greg Mikeska; Michelle Milburn; Leandra Montoya; Katie Nagyvary; Gavin Norton; Grady Norton; Keegan O'Connell; Sean O'Quinn; Trevor Scott; Katie Seidel; Ellen C. Smith; Zach Smith; Amanda Spaw; Lindsay Speake; Ali Spurgeon; Alex Stephens; Amanda Stone; David Straube; Becky Turner; Hallie Webb; Chris Weldon; and Seth White.

Papers by these students appear in the Instructors' Manual only: Erica Bell; Michael Cifuentes; Marco Miller.

Thanks also to the teachers and parents who shared writing samples with us.

We also thank the reviews of our manuscript for their comments and insights: Tom Bean, The University of Nevada-L

About the Author:

JANE HUGHEY and her husband, John, live in College Station, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They have three children and two grandchildren. Jane has been involved with writing research and evaluation and the teaching of writing for several decades. She has authored books and articles about writing. She is the director of Profile Approach to Writing, a National Diffusion Network program in the U.S. Department of Education. Jane has worked with school districts in all parts of the country. She serves on the graduate faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M University. She has been active in establishing Writing Buddy programs and working with professional development programs for preservice teachers through EDCI. She is currently the director of the English Language Institute at Texas A&M.

CHARLOTTE SLACK earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from The Ohio State University. Drawing on her 25 years of experience in the classroom, she is the author of numerous articles and two books on writing. She currently teaches in College Station, Texas, and frequently presents writing workshops at schools and conferences. She and her husband, Doug, have two daughters and one grandson.

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