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Linda Rief

Linda Rief left the classroom in June of 2019 after 40 years of teaching Language Arts with eighth graders. She misses their energy and their apathy, their curiosity and their complacency, their confidence and their insecurities. But mostly, she misses their passionate, powerful voices as writers and readers. 

She is an instructor in the University of New Hampshire's Summer Literacy Institute and a national and international presenter on issues of adolescent literacy.

She is the author of Whispering in the Wind: A Guide to Deeper Reading and Writing Through Poetry (2022), The Quickwrite Handbook: 100 Mentor Texts to Jumpstart Your Students’ Thinking and Writing (2018), Read Write Teach: Choice and Challenge in the Reading-Writing Workshop (2014), The Writer’s-Reader’s Notebook (2007), Inside the Writer's-Reader's Notebook (2007), 100 Quickwrites (Scholastic, 2003), Vision and Voice: Extending the Literacy Spectrum (1999), and Seeking Diversity: Language Arts with Adolescents (1992); she is co-editor (Beers, Probst, and Rief) of Adolescent Literacy (2007). For five years she co-edited with Maureen Barbieri Voices from the Middle, a journal for middle school teachers published by the National Council of Teachers of English.

In 2021 she was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from NCTE and in 2020  received the Kent Williamson Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership, in recognition of outstanding leadership in the English Language Arts. A recipient of NCTE’s Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Educator in ELA, her classroom was featured in the series Making Meaning in Literature produced by Maryland Public Television for Annenberg/CPB. For three years she chaired the first Early Adolescence English/Language Arts Standards Committee of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1988 she was the recipient of one of two Kennedy Center Fellowships for Teachers of the Arts. She spent a month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, writing prose and poetry based on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She read her writing in performance at the Kennedy Center, a program later broadcast on NPR.


Poetry is what "whispers in the wind," guiding us toward deeper reading and a heightened awareness of what makes compelling writing.

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