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Write Beside Them

Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing

By Penny Kittle

Penny’s active coaching and can-do attitude alone will energize your teaching and inspire you to write with your students. But her strategies, expert advice, and compelling in-class video footage will help you turn inspiration into great teaching.

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This book is about teaching writing and the gritty particulars of teaching adolescents. But it is also the planning, the thinking, the writing, the journey: all I’ve been putting into my teaching for the last two decades. This is the book I wanted when I was first given ninth graders and a list of novels to teach. This is a book of vision and hope and joy, but it is also a book of genre units and minilessons and actual conferences with students.

 —Penny Kittle

 What makes the single biggest difference to student writers? When the invisible machinery of your writing processes is made visible to them. Write Beside Them shows you how to do it. It’s the comprehensive book and companion video that English/language arts teachers need to ensure that teens improve their writing.

 Across genres, Penny Kittle presents a flexible framework for instruction, the theory and experience to back it up, and detailed teaching information to help you implement it right away. Each section of Write Beside Them describes a specific element of Penny’s workshop:

  • Daily writing practice: writer’s notebooks and quick writes
  • Instructional frameworks: minilessons, organization, conferring, and sharing drafts
  • Genre work: narrative, persuasion, and writing in multiple genres
  • Skills work: grammar, punctuation, and style
  • Assessment: evaluation, feedback, portfolios, and grading

All along the way, Penny demonstrates minilessons that respond to students’ immediate needs, and her Student Focus sections profile and spotlight how individual writers grew and changed over the course of her workshop. In addition, Write Beside Them provides a study guide, reproducibles, writing samples from Penny and her students, suggestions for nurturing your own writing life, and a helpful FAQ.  Best of all, the online videos take you right inside Penny’s classroom, explicitly modeling how to make the process of writing accessible to all kids.

Penny Kittle’s active coaching and can-do attitude alone will energize your teaching and inspire you to write with your students. But her strategies, expert advice, and compelling in-class video footage will help you turn inspiration into great teaching. Read Write Beside Them and discover that the most important influence for all young writers is their teacher.

Penny was the recipient of the 2009 NCTE Britton Award for Write Beside Them.

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