A Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Heinemann

About the Authors

Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers

Katie Wood Ray, Lisa B. Cleaveland, Jonathan Valley Elementary School, North Carolina

ISBN 978-0-325-00511-9 / 0-325-00511-7 / 2004 / 256pp / Paperback
Imprint: Heinemann
Availability: In Stock
Grade Level: K - 2nd
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About the Authors is about the littlest authors—those in kindergarten through second grade. Based on a profound understanding of the ways in which young children learn, it shows teachers how to launch a writing workshop by inviting children to do what they do naturally—make stuff. So why not write books?

Gifted educator and author of the best-selling What You Know by Heart (Heinemann, 2002), Katie Wood Ray has seen young authors do just that. And she wants your students to be able to do the same. Beautifully describing young children in the act of learning, she demonstrates what it takes to nourish writing right from the start:

  • a supportive environment that enables even the youngest students to write
  • respect and sensitivity to the way children really learn
  • inviting instruction that both encourages and elevates young writers
  • rich language that stimulates writing
  • classroom talk and children's literature that energize young writers
  • developmental considerations that shape the structure of the workshop, making it natural, joyful, and absolutely appropriate.
What's more, Ray explains step by step how to set up and maintain a primary writing workshop, detailing eleven units of study that cover idea generation, text structures, different genres, and illustrations that work with text. She also draws on data, projects, and the language of teaching used in the classroom of first-grade teacher Lisa Cleaveland. Ray allows readers to "listen in" to Lisa as she helps her young students learn from professional writers, work with intention, and think about their own process.

Chockfull of examples of little books by young children, About the Authors is proof positive that a primary writing workshop is a smart writing move.

I. Building a Strong Foundation
1. Writing Workshop: A Happy Place Where We Make Stuff
2. Work, Space, and Time: Writing Workshop Right from the Start
3. Wrapping Strong Arms Around the Writing Workshop: Children Learning About Language All Day Long
4. How Our Youngest Writers Use the Writing Process to Help Them Make Books
II. Understanding the Teaching
5. Looking Closely at Minilessons: Whole-Class Teaching That Fills the Workshop with Possibilities
6. Organizing for Thoughtful Instruction with Units of Study
7. Assessment: Learning All We Can About the Authors
8. Teaching Into and Out of the Work of Individual Children: Writing Conferences and Share Times
III. An Overview of Units of Study
A. The Kinds of Things Writers Make and How We'll Make Them in This Room
B. Where Writers Get Ideas
C. How to Read Like Writers
D. Finding Writing Mentors
E. How to Structure Texts in Interesting Ways
F. How to Make Illustrations Work Better with Written Text
G. How to Have Better Peer Conferences
H. Literary Nonfiction
I. How to Use Punctuation in Interesting Ways
J. Poetry
K. Revision

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“Where was About the Authors during the fifteen years that I taught kindergarten? I could have benefited from this gem of a book that specifies how to set up your classroom, how to introduce and teach writing to younger children, and then how to assess the final products…a book that is as easy to read as it is to use as a model for excellence in teaching writing.”

—Sherry Dolgoff, The NWP Quarterly, 2004

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