Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide

(This is the first in a series of reviews about books on teaching writing to kids.)

Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi.  2001 Heinemann Press, Hanover, NH; 159 pages.

For those going into teaching and trying to slog their way through Lucy Calkins books and curriculum materials, this is a companion book that you may want to have on your bookshelf.  What Fletcher and Portalupi do is take Lucy McCormick Calkins method of teaching writing and boil it down into essential steps right down to a timeline for the educational year for teaching writing.

At the end of each chapter is a bullet pointed breakdown called "Making it Work in the Classroom" and the appendices contain a variety of check lists and materials that can be used in the classroom for charting various writing, editing, evaluation and progress steps necessary for the teacher and student.

One main drawback, because it is a boiled down version of the full curriculum, the authors are trying to cover everyone from primary teachers through upper levels of education.  The results are the kernels are there but not everything applies to everyone, which can be a bit frustrating.

While this can't replace the broad spectrum of materials and instruction provided in the books and series by Calkins, it is a solid quick reference book for teaching professionals for a reasonable price.

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