Writing Instruction That Works: Proven Methods for Middle and High School Classrooms

Teachers College Press
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Backed by solid research, Writing Instruction That Works answers the following question: What is writing instruction today and what can it be tomorrow? This up-to-date, comprehensive book identifies areas of concern for the ways that writing is being taught in today’s secondary schools. The authors offer far-reaching direction for improving writing instruction that assist both student literacy and subject learning. They provide many examples of successful writing practices in each of the four core academic subjects (English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history), along with guidance for meeting the Common Core standards. The text also includes sections on “Technology and the Teaching of Writing” and “English Language Learners.”

Book Features:

A detailed presentation of successful writing instruction in all four core subject areas.Examples of writing activities that comply with the Common Core Standards.A checklist and discussion questions for the classroom and professional development.

Arthur N. Applebee is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Education, University at Albany, State University of New York and Director of the Center on English Learning and Achievement. Judith A. Langer is the Vincent O’Leary Distinguished Professor at the University at Albany and the author of Envisioning Literature, now in its Second Edition, and Envisioning Knowledge.

“Concerned about your students' writing skills? Worried about how to prepare them for new performance assessments? In search of ideas for re-conceiving the teaching of writing on your campus? You have come to the right place. Writing Instruction that Works details and analyzes the state of writing in America's schools and offers a vision for how writing could and should be taught. For me, ArthurApplebeeand Judith Langer's book is a call to action. Read it today. Buy a copy for every educator you know.”
Carol Jago, past president, National Council of Teachers of English, associate director, California Reading and Literature Project, UCLA

“In Writing Instruction that Works, Arthur Applebee and Judith Langer do as they have always done: offer us a compelling, coherent, and much-needed vision of what effective middle and high school writing instruction looks like in all content areas, anchoring their insights, recommendations, and claims in their extensive research in the classrooms of real teachers throughout the country. This book serves as a guide for what we must do to teach writing well and how we can do that in our schools, departments, and individual classrooms despite the many challenges we face. It is a book that traces our progress, identifies our problems, reminds us what is possible while revealing the ways we might achieve these ambitious and very important goals. If I had to recommend one book to a teacher, administrator, or professor to read about improving the teaching of writing in all content areas, this would be that book.”
Jim Burke, bestselling author of The English Teacher’s Companion and What’s the Big Idea?

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Additional Information

Teachers College Press
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Published on
Apr 25, 2015
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Education / Secondary
Language Arts & Disciplines / Literacy
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This updated text argues that literature fosters ways of thinking that go far beyond understanding the conventions of genre and text. It involves literate thinking that takes students beyond improved performance on high-stakes tests and prepares them for their future in the 21st century.  This revision of Judith Langer’s classic bestseller builds on more than 15 years of research and development projects in elementary, middle, and high schools, in inner-city as well as suburban and rural communities: 

New examples to show the kinds of critical, creative, and innovative thinking that are needed for success in the digital-age classroom. 
A fifth stance added to the Envisionment-building framework toward higher-level understanding, integration, and the building of new concepts. 

Filled with examples from across the grades and the voices of students and teachers, this book continues to be a practical and influential resource for the English Language Arts classroom. 

Judith A. Langer is an internationally known scholar in literacy learning and Distinguished Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York.  She is the author of Getting to Excellent: How to Create Better Schools.

“[Judith Langer] pioneered the changes in the way we define the English/Language Arts curriculum.”

—English Journal (reviewing the first edition)

“Rich with narratives, Envisioning Literature provides both strong theory about teaching literature and real examples that provide a context for change….Important reading for teachers, staff development trainers, policy analysts, and reading program administrators.”

—Reading Today (reviewing the first edition)

“By respecting the intelligence of multilingual writers, this book helps teachers capitalize on the resources those students bring into the classroom. District secondary curriculum coordinators should make sure every teacher in every discipline has this book, and every university course about secondary teaching should require it.”

—Randy Bomer, University of Texas at Austin

This resource for secondary school ELA and ELL teachers brings together compelling insights into student experiences, current research, and strategies for building an inclusive writing curriculum.The ELL Writerexpands the current conversation on the literacy needs of adolescent English learners by focusing on their writing approaches, their texts, and their needs as student writers. Vivid portraits look at tangible moments within these students’ lives that depict not only the difficulties but also the possibilities that they bring with them into the classroom. The case studies are complemented by findings from current research studies by second-language writing specialists that will inform today’s classroom teachers.

Book Features:

Activities, writing prompts, and teaching tips to support ELL learning in mainstream classes.
Personal stories and voices of ELL writers, along with examples of student writing.
A focus on teacher responses, revision strategies, and assignment design.
Clear connections between current research, student experiences, and the classroom.

Christina Ortmeier-Hooperis an assistant professor of English at the University of New Hampshire.

This book is a comprehensive guide for literacy teacher educators and professional development trainers who teach and work in online settings. The authors provide tools, techniques, and resources for developing courses, workshops, and other online learning experiences, including blended/hybrid delivery formats that combine face-to-face meetings with online practices. Moving away from traditional discussions in which technology and delivery systems dominate the conversation, this book focuses on the literacy instructor with techniques for building effective learning communities. The authors outline the unique pedagogical challenges posed by online courses and offer guidance for making decisions about what tools to use for specific instructional purposes. More than simply a “how-to” book, this resource will encourage novice and experienced instructors to extend their thinking and enable online literacy teacher education to grow in productive ways.

Book Features:

Support for those teaching in many different roles, including program coordinators, professors, and adjuncts. A focus on pedagogical innovation as the key to success, with concrete examples of instructional and assessment practices. Connections to the IRA Standards for Reading Professionals and other national standards for teacher education. A companion website where online literacy teacher educators can communicate and share resources.

“Be prepared to experience a compelling journey. . . . This might very well be the book that inspires you, like me, to find a trusted colleague, take a few risks, and begin your own journey toward moving a literacy course or whole program online.”
—From the Foreword by Julie Coiro, University of Rhode Island

Lane W. Clarke is assistant professor and literacy concentration leader in the Education Department of the University of New England. Susan Watts-Taffe is associate professor and coordinator of the Reading Endorsement program at the University of Cincinnati.

Filled with day-to-day literacy practices, this book will help elementary school teachers understand their role in dismantling the imbalance of privilege in literacy education. Chapters take readers into classrooms where they will see, hear, and feel decolonizing and humanizing culturally relevant pedagogies as students learn literacy and a critical stance through musical literacies, oral histories, heritage lessons, and building a critical consciousness. The authors also share strategies to help teachers examine their own educational spaces, start the school year in culturally relevant ways, build reciprocal relationships with families and communities, and teach within standards and testing mandates while challenging unjust systems. Practices are brought to life through students, families, and community members who voice the realities of pedagogical privilege and oppression and urge educators to take action for change.

“Teachers of every child must acknowledge that ‘we’ve been doing it your way long enough’—this is the brilliance of the book and the work that lies ahead for all who commit to choosing the culturally relevant classroom.”
—Valerie Kinloch, dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Education

“Captures the heart of culturally relevant teaching. It is impossible to read this book and return to the same old pedagogies and practices.”
—Nathaniel Bryan, Miami University

“This volume seamlessly embeds guidance for creating liberating pedagogical practices in order to transform schools for all students and teachers.”
—Gloria Boutte, University of South Carolina

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