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One-Day Workshop:
Supporting Beginning Writers - Right from the Start!

Presented by Lisa B Cleaveland and Katie Wood Ray

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One of the biggest challenges to working with beginning writers is helping young children believe they are able to write. Even if adults believe in their approximations, children often aren't so sure. Drawing from Lisa and Katie's years of work together supporting beginning writers, this workshop is designed to show you how to help beginning writers get started and move forward with confidence.

Using video captured in the first five days of school (and beyond), Lisa and Katie will highlight the key teaching moves Lisa uses each year as she nudges her kindergarteners to begin writing. You'll see how she invites them to get started making books, names their actions as process, sets expectations for their books to include both pictures and words, offers them strategies for word making, and shows them how to manage their bookmaking over time.

As you see the teaching in action, you'll also learn about the principled beliefs informing it:

  • Writing must be a predictable, daily routine
  • Children need to see themselves as writers, each with a unique identity
  • Writing is a process of decision-making and action
  • Writers need a disposition for risk-taking
  • Writers need a sense of momentum to know that they are growing
  • Writers work with a sense of craft guiding them, and they learn craft from mentors
  • Teachers must act as if children are capable, competent writers

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn how to look at beginning writing and see more in children's approximations
  • Explore practical ways to help children illustrate with more intention so they engage fully with process
  • Discover how using picture books can help introduce children to the craft of writing and key mentors
  • Understand how to encourage children to be fearless writers who are willing to try even when they "don't know how"
  • Gather methods to teach children to read and share their books before their writing is conventional

About the Presenters

Lisa Cleaveland is a Nationally Board Certified teacher and winner of the Donald Graves Award from NCTE for excellence in the teaching of writing. She has been a teacher of kindergarten or first grade for more than 25 years, and she has always had a daily, thriving writing workshop that begins on the first day of school.

Katie Wood Ray conducted action research for years in Lisa's classroom, documenting the powerful practices that support beginning writers. Together, Lisa and Katie have authored or coauthored numerous books on the teaching of writing, including About the Authors; In Pictures and in Words; More About the Authors; Already Ready; and most recently, A Teacher's Guide to Getting Started with Beginning Writers, all published by Heinemann.

Who Should Attend?

Classroom teachers of grades PreK-1, and administrators, coaches, specialists, and/or staff developers who support primary teachers.


8:30 A.M.-3:00 P.M.


The cost of this workshop is $249.00 per person. If you register 3 or more participants at the same time the cost is $239.00 per person.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

10/28/2019 - Houston, TX
12/13/2019 - Freeport, ME

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