Category Archives: Grammar

PLC Series: Connections Between Writing and Reading


Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month we look closely at creating opportunities for ourselves and our students to consider the power of the reading-writing connection. 

What if the first step in learning a new writing skill is not taken by… writing?

Roz Linder, author of The Big Book of Details, shares her thinking in the video blog below about how we need to engage students in a skill in the real world first—then model it and transfer this knowledge over to the writing on the page. She notes that “reading and writing are about communicating” and the more we experience it before putting the pencil to the page, the more success students will have with the transfer of knowledge. Take a look.

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PLC Series: Making Writing Irresistible

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we discuss building lifelong literacy habits for all, from honoring the work of our smallest readers to our reflecting on our own practices as adults. 

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Introducing The Writing Strategies Book Study Guide

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Jennifer Serravallo has created a helpful guide for The Writing Strategies Book for book study groups or individual practitioners. As an educational consultant, Jen is in classrooms all the time, and this study guide reflects the questions and concerns teachers have brought to her about how to use strategies within an instructional framework for writing and especially how to match them to instructional goals and methods. The study guide contains over 25 pages of resources, ideas for conversations, activities, and practices that will strengthen your strategic writing instruction, raise the quality and engagement levels of your student writers, and strengthen collaboration with your colleagues.

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Language Study: Answering the Call to Action in the Classroom

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Written by: Jen McCreight based on a section from her book Celebrating Diversity through Language Study.


In today’s climate, many of our students’ families are feeling anxious. Anxious about whether they are welcome in the United States. Anxious about escalating disagreements and protests surrounding immigrants from countries near and far. Anxious that loved ones may be deported. Regardless of our own political beliefs, as teachers, we are called to empathize with, support, and love our students. We are called to respond to their social and emotional challenges as much as their academic ones. I am reminded of this each day that I open the newspaper or read about current events online, and over and over, the following story pops into my head, as clearly as if I had experienced it yesterday.

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How Do I Use The Writing Strategies Book with Other Writing Programs?

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The Writing Strategies Book, by Jennifer Serravallo, can be used effectively, with nearly any writing program or approach. Its goals align well with many rubrics, scoring criteria, and assessment categories. To help you match your instruction with the strategies in her book, Jennifer has created a crosswalk to several commonly used writing approaches and programs. Those programs include:

This crosswalk between her hierarchy of 10 writing goals and six commonly used writing programs and instructional frameworks such as Traits Writing, Units of Study, Empowering Writers, Being a Writer, and Writing Fundamentals is a available as a free download here on The Writing Strategies Book page.

5 Ways to Use Liberation Literacies in Your Classroom: Practical Strategies

el_colors2-copyThis week on the Heinemann blog, we’re sharing a series on Language in the Classroom. The series was inspired by an article published by NPR on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, on the ways we teach English Learners in our country. While the NPR article was specific to English Learners, our hope is to use that as a jumping off point to broader topics of language instruction in the classroom. Each day this week we will feature articles, excerpts and insights directly from Heinemann authors and affiliates that further the conversation surrounding language diversity in the classroom, the challenges it presents, and what we know works.


In the first part of this two-part blog, Jamilia Lyiscott introduced liberation literacies pedagogy. You can find it here.


5 Ways to Use Liberation Literacies in Your Classroom: Practical Strategies

By Jamila Lyiscott


Begin the year with a Literate Identity Assessment of each student 

One of the goals of Liberation Literacies as a pedagogical framework is for students and teachers to find and employ agency within the stifling constraints of most classrooms, such as the pressures of teaching to the test. Within Liberation Literacies pedagogy teachers challenge the goals of assessments in their classrooms so that alongside the mandate of rigid exams are a series of assessments beginning on the first day of school to better understand the background knowledge, interests, and learning needs of each student as necessary for shaping curriculum. A Literate Identity Assessment at the beginning of the year can include the following prompt along with one or two others:

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