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Posted July 18, 2009
As a 1st grade teacher pursuing my masters in education, I am always asked to read specific textbooks to further my understanding in reading and writing. Guiding K-3 Writers to Independence is an easy read for any educator who is seeking extra support in or just beginning to implement a quality writing program. Always focusing on the process of writing rather than the product, Scharer and Pinnell provide numerous examples of what a writing program looks and sounds like. Their book takes you into classrooms and provides simple and not overwhelming dialogues between teacher and student to help gain a better understanding of young writers. One thing I found useful in this text was the importance of reading in writing and the numerous examples of read alouds I can use to introduce specific modes of writing and genres. I also recommend reading the chapters on the values of assessments and how they can guide our instruction. Overall, this is a very easy read and something I would refer back to during my busy schedule as a teacher.
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Posted July 20, 2009
Guiding K-3 Writers to Independence: The New Essesntials is a very resourceful text for educators. This book reviews the basic structure and necessities for a functional writers workshop in the primary grades. The authors described the writer's workshop in detail, but they also suggested ways in which writing can be integrated throughout the day to further comprehension. After reading this book there are a few main points that have impacted my thoughts about some decisions I have made in the past. First of all, I like the way the authors describe what writer's workshop is. Instead of a daunting task for both the students and teachers, they describe it as a time where students and teachers are interacting with each other to have fun and make meaning out of literature using children's own experiences. It is a refreshing definition. There is one chapter focused on the importance of language, and the thread is carried through the text. Thinking about the use of kid talk in the classroom is very crucial, and it is becoming more and more emphasized in schools today.
This is a good tool for anyone wanting to refresh or start a writer's workshop. Most chapters have actual accounts and pictures from real classrooms kindergarten through third grade. There are also many references to picture books that may be used as mentor texts to spark discussion and guide readers and writers. I will go back to use this book as a reference.
Posted July 19, 2009
Guiding K-3 Writers to Independence is a terrific resource book for any teacher wanting to build up or refine his/her teaching of writing. The book begins with a message that writing is more than filling in blanks on a worksheet and continues to discuss starting a writing program, building community in the classroom, connecting reading and writing and working with the needs of individuals within the writing community. I am a middle school teacher beginning a transition to elementary education. This book has given me some insights and some practical direction for building up a writing program in my classroom.
Sections one and two outline what the authors feel are effective in creating a writing workshop and the community atmosphere that supports the workshop. The suggestions are practical and focus on creating a workshop that supports students' needs.
Section three deals with connecting reading and writing. This is, in my opinion, the most useful section. Making use of the reading done in class as subjects for writing is so important. It's not so much that I haven't always connected reading and writing in my classroom, but there are wonderful suggestions that will help me add variety to my writing workshop. Also, chapter nine offers a good reminder about the benefits of exposing kids to quality books.
Section five and the appendices that follow add to the value of this book as a resource. Book lists are added here, as well as FAQs about writing.
Overall, this text is a fine resource for any teacher working with young writers. It is full of practical suggestions that could be put to use in a classroom.
As a relatively new third grade teacher, I have struggled with the best way to teach writing. I found this title helpful to implement a successful writer's workshop in the future, aligned with best practices.
The first section of the book covers how a teacher can set up a supportive environment for his/her learners, which is, of course, essential for students to take risks to increase achievement. It then goes on to describe the practice of writer's workshop and how to get it off to a good start. This section was full of real-life success stories of other teachers, valuable methods and tips on how to truly teach writing, and even professional development suggestions. One of the most helpful parts for me was how the text emphasizes the importance of oral language through community writing, how to foster oral language, and its link to written language success, again giving research, methods, and ideas on how to do it effectively. The book also uncovers the reciprocity between reading/writing acquisition and how each are so closely related to each other when it comes to achievement.
Scharer and Pinnell also gave a lot of ideas on how to get students engaged with writing, the significance of using authors as mentors (with great titles as suggestions), and how to craft writing using a balanced literacy approach. This book is full of great information and will help any teacher struggling with his/her writing block.