And with a Light Touch: Learning about Reading, Writing, and Teaching with First Graders / Edition 2

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With its first edition, ...And with a Light Touch was immediately praised for its authentic portrayal of classroom life and learning. "It's my bible for teaching young children" and "It reads like a novel," said veteran and preservice teachers alike. Those with minimal background in children's literature have found the book a godsend. Every page rings true with the voice of a caring, real-life classroom teacher-one who marvels at what young children can do if given the chance to work in daily reading and writing workshops taught with a sensitive and responsive approach.

Now, Carol Avery offers a second edition, giving more insight and examples of children and a teacher learning together. Since her first edition, Carol has worked extensively in kindergarten and second grade, has had her own fourth- and sixth-grade classrooms, and has watched three grandchildren learn to read and write. Her latest edition incorporates Carol's stories and learning from these new experiences. It also expands sections on crafting writing, phonics instruction, read-alouds, and documenting assessment, and includes an updated bibliography. At the same time, it retains its focus on these major areas, addressed in depth:

  • the writing process-structuring daily writing workshops and the development of young writers
  • the reading process-structuring daily reading workshops and learning to read without a basal reader
  • children's literature-incorporating children's literature into the daily life of the classroom and stimulating children's responses to literature
  • classroom environment and tone-organizing and managing the classroom
  • expanding literacy-reading and writing across the curriculum and a focus on kindergarten
  • assessment-documenting and reporting student progress.

Throughout, Carol rejects the concept of "one right way" to teach, but believes instead that a responsive environment provides the greatest possibilities for student growth.

As Donald Graves notes, Carol shows "real children in the process of learning to learn". Classroom teachers, preservice teachers, parents, and anyone concerned with young children learning to read and write will appreciate this book for its honest look into a first-grade classroom, both its ups and its downs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“There is nothing more practical than a good theory, someone once said. "Well, this is the most practical inside-the-classroom book about the primary years that Ive read to date."”–From the Foreword by Donald Graves
Avery (an education consultant and former elementary school teacher) covers the basics of early literacy training, including the classroom climate, the writing process, the reading process, children's literature, the applications of literacy to other subjects, and the measurement and documentation of student progress. Appendices include conference checklists, conference records, directions for bookbinding, reading conference notes, individual reading records, writing strategies and skills, and recommended children's books. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325000664
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 3/12/2002
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Avery is a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English and is widely respected for her expertise in language arts teaching and for her advocacy of teachers and children. She is the author of ...And With a Light Touch, a book on teaching language arts, which is lauded by classroom teachers and educators for its insightfulness and relevance to classroom practice. She has facilitated hundreds of workshops and presentations for teachers throughout the United States and Canada, as well as several abroad. She has special expertise in children's literature and, in her capacity as a reviewer, recommends the best new books to teachers attending her workshops. Carol has worked as a consultant for schools nationally and internationally, demonstrating reading and writing lessons in K-12 classrooms and sharing stories of her classroom experiences in both suburban and urban schools. She has taught at the elementary, secondary and college levels and also served as a school librarian. She holds a bachelor's degree in library science and masters degrees in elementary education and writing.
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Table of Contents


The Butterflies Are Being Born

The First Day of School

Environment and Tone

Classroom Climate: A Foundation for Learning

Planning and Preparing


Establishing and Managing a Writing Workshop

Mini-Lessons: Helping Children Craft Their Writing

Listening and Responding

From the Author's Chair

The Process of Publishing

Children's Literature

The Why, How, and What of Reading Aloud

Reader Response

Children Take Literature to Heart


Developing a Reading Workshop

Guided Reading and Literature Circles

Learning to Read

Learning Language: Phonics, Word Study, Spelling

Expanding Literacy

Lessons from Kindergarten

Reading and Writing in Math, Science, and Social Studies

Considering Student Progress

Reporting Student Growth


Afterword: Laura's Legacy


A. Conference Checklist

B. Publishing Conference Record

C. Directions for Bookbinding

D. Reading Conference Notes (Whole Class)

E. Reading Record (Individual)

F. Strategies and Skills of Written Language

G. Children's Books - Child-tested Favorites

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    A 'real' resource for 'real' teachers.

    Carol Avery is a genius in her ability to relate live teaching experiences to her practices and theory. Her book is user friendly and practical. Our district purchased a copy for every teacher K-3 and we have even chosen to meet and discuss sections of her book with each other. This author has been a breath of fresh air for many of us. A must have book for all teachers.

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