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JennyD

books about teaching writing

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Could anyone possibly recommend some books that offer different philosophies of how to teach writing? I have read the WTM, of course, as well as The Writer's Jungle (Bogart) and Any Child Can Write (Weiner) but would be very grateful for other suggestions. I feel as though I still lack a sense of the bigger pedagogical picture, and i think that that would be helpful to me in finding our way.

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Not sure if these qualify for philosophies of writing, but I enjoyed reading and implementing some of the ideas from these books:

 

6plus1 traits of writing

Four squares writing

Reasons to write

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:bigear:

 

I'd like to read a book about teaching writing that really resonates with me but I haven't yet. I taught middle school writing for several years and never questioned much how I was doing it (I feel like I was pretty successful at it, honestly). But now that I have young kids in a totally different stage of writing, I find I question myself a lot more! SWB's lectures are good to me and I've drawn a lot of ideas from them, but they don't resonate with me fully, especially as I think of my own writing journey.

 

After a suggestion, I downloaded and read the first chapter of Your Child's Writing Life by Pam Allyn. It, um, annoyed me, so I didn't buy it. But it's definitely a different perspective from SWB so someone here might be interested in it.

 

For myself, my favorite two books about writing are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont (it's everyone's though, isn't it?) and If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. I'd love to find something about helping children write that makes me feel as nourished as a teacher and writer as those books make me feel when I reread them.

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Thanks for the bump, and the suggestions! I have read SWB's book, but not a few of the others mentioned upthread - I will check them out.

 

farrarwilliams, I actually searched your blog a few weeks ago looking for ideas/suggestions about writing, since I remember that you finally decided to put something together yourself. Can I ask a little bit more about how you figured out your approach?

 

I love Bird by Bird, too.

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Could anyone possibly recommend some books that offer different philosophies of how to teach writing? I have read the WTM, of course, as well as The Writer's Jungle (Bogart) and Any Child Can Write (Weiner) but would be very grateful for other suggestions. I feel as though I still lack a sense of the bigger pedagogical picture, and i think that that would be helpful to me in finding our way.

 

There are several good threads on the forum where veterans have outlined their teaching methods. I don't think I can add anymore to the teaching writing books, but I can recommend a few good books on writing's purpose. The best books I've read are short and to the point: Strunk & White, The Lively Art of Writing, and Stephen King's On Writing.

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Thanks!

 

I just feel as though I can't get a handle on what the landscape looks like. Not about writing, so much, but about the different philosophies of teaching writing. I have searched the forums before and one of the most useful posts I came across was KarenAnne's, on this page:

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173510&highlight=calkins&page=5

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I'm not at all sure if any of this will help, or are what you're looking for, but these are my favorite books about writing, besides WTM:

Writing Down the Bones

Vein of Gold

Writing Because We Love To

Growing Up Writing

Families Writing

Write Away

The Elements of Style

Writing to Learn

On Writing Well

 

One book that I won't recommend is Language Wars by Ruth Beechick. I know a lot of people like her stuff, but I found that book to be a bunch of twaddle and full of ridiculous grammar mistakes.

 

I haven't read Bird by Bird but I really like Anne Lamont, so I'll be looking for that one.

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I spend a lot of money and time on writing curricula and writing books.

 

Four square, Step Up to Writing, and Puzzle Paragraphs all teach formulaic writing, which I think is an important skill to learn. There is a time and place to write formulaic writing, even for the most talented writers. I don't agree that this type of writing is "bad" writing. I believe it's a tool, and like any tool, can be used properly or misused.

 

I also like Understanding Writing which teaches most of the writing process through writing friendly and business letters.

 

And I like Students of the Word's approach which teaches writing, by writing about the weekly Bible reading portion assigned as the basis of a unit study.

 

Of course there is the progym, which I like a lot more in theory than in practice. I always come back to this and then discard it fairly quickly for the above type curricula...but then circle back again...because...I don't know why :-0

 

I play around a bit with using picture books as mentor writing examples for older students. The book on using picture book to teach the 6 traits is pretty good.

 

I guess my writing teaching philosophy is pretty formulaic and applied to daily life. My goals are not as lofty as many here. Most of my students over the past few decades have been 2E and/or only planning on junior college. I think that has affected my basic philosophy a lot. Real life always seems to set in, and I deal with it head on, the best I know how.

 

Not for kids, but 2 personal favorites of mine are Write Like Hemingway and Writing Tools. They both have influenced me a lot.

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I have recently rediscovered Ruth Beechick's books and find them full of wisdom, common sense, and experience. Someone upthread mentioned that she didn't like it, but I just finished The Language Wars and did quite a bit of underlining. Most of her books go into writing to some extent, but she does have one dedicated to the subject: How to Write Clearly. That is one I have not read yet, but plan to.

 

Her perspective on writing would be similar to Charlotte Mason.

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