Category Archives: Language Arts

What Does Research Say Adolescent Readers Need?

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A Preview from A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Middle Grades

by Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth

Over decades of research (1977, 2002), Richard Allington has returned often to the three key conditions readers need to thrive:

  1. time to read,
  2. access to books they find fascinating, and
  3. expert instruction.

The first condition, time to read, means examining middle school schedules to make sure students get time to practice. Allington argued, and many other researchers have argued, that above all, students need time to engage in reading in order to get better at reading. Arguing for time for independent reading in schools, Donalyn Miller (2015) likens the situation of students needing to read in order to get better at reading to learning a sport or an instrument. No one ever asks the coach why his players are practicing on the field, and no one asks the music teacher why students are playing instruments during practice times. The only way to get better at doing something is to practice doing it. 

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How can The Writing Strategies Book Help With Your Own Writing Goals This Summer?

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Jennifer Serravallo's The Writing Strategies Book offers help for all steps in the writing process, and while it is intended for grades K–8, we find ourselves turning to it regularly to find new ways of thinking, refining, and sharpening our own writing.  Have you made a goal of writing more over the summer? Is it somewhat daunting? overwhelming? terrifying?

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Summer Book Study!

In a video blog below, author Colleen Cruz describes what she believes to be something great happening in schools today: teachers building relationships and working together. We agree—and this is why we look forward to hosting a summer book study! 

Are you looking for a place to build relationships with other teachers of writing, from all over the world? Please join us in a summer book study with The Unstoppable Writing Teacher: Real Strategies for the Real Classroom, hosted by Heinemann Professional Development, in the Unstoppable Learning Teacher Facebook group. Want to find out more about the book before we get started? Listen to Colleen's recent episode on the Heinemann Podcast here. Please view, download, and share our schedule by clicking below. See you there!

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Heinemann Fellow Anna Osborn: “Hurry Up September!”

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A year ago, I did not think I would be ready for year two of my research. Who am I kidding, at our Heinemann Fellows meeting in Denver last December, I felt my research faltering. But after an inspiring and rejuvenating three days with my co-fellows where Ellin Keene mentored us through a deep dive into our data, I had a realization: if I was going to move my students, I needed to focus more closely on my own biases and how I enacted those biases in our classroom.

My research question—In what ways does the exploration of personal identity through reading and discourse impact students’ perceptions of themselves as stigmatized readers?—made me look long and hard at my teaching practice.

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Gearing Up for a Powerful Launch to a New Year: Reflecting on the June Teachers College Writing Institute

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille 

This week, institute season kicks off at The Reading and Writing Project, as thousands of educators gather at Teachers College in New York City to reflect upon, reinvigorate, and refine their teaching of writing. The workshops, lectures, keynotes, and often informal study groups they will attend will help them to hone their teaching practices so that they begin the next school year in the strongest place yet. 

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