About Writing

Long-Term English Learners Writing Their Stories

Author: Lynn Jacobs Summary: Long-term English learners—those who typically have attended school for at least seven years—speak English well but are often considered below grade level. Because they assume many adult responsibilities in their out-of-school lives, including household duties and translating for family and others, they present opportunities for teachers...

Modernizing the Old School Essay

Authors: Rachel Bear, Mitchell Nobis, Carrie Nobis, Dawn Reed, Dirk Schulze Summary: How can we rethink writing instruction to support students in writing authentic pieces about real world issues that matter to them? How can we move beyond the “old school essay” and invite students to write compositions that reflect...

Puny Poetry Meets Its Match

Author: Gerri Ruckle & Jim Horrell Summary: What can we do when confronted with the challenge of helping young poets develop an awareness of the expressive power of poetry as opposed to rhyming lines that that often convey little meaning? By sharing a series of scaffolded strategies illustrated with multiple...

Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme

Author: Glenda Moss Summary: Having taught the five-paragraph essay early in her career, Glenda Moss describes how she came to believe that it limits students as writers. By sharing her journey as she moved from middle-school teaching into working with college writers, she explores how the five-paragraph essay inhibited students’ critical...

A Snapshot of Writing Instruction in Middle Schools and High Schools

Author: Arthur N. Applebee and Judith A. Langer Summary: This 2011 article describes research which updates earlier work and which addresses the following questions: How much writing do students do? Who reads what students write? What is the effect of high-stakes tests on writing instruction? What kinds of writing instruction...

Meet the Poets: the Writers Council and Beyond

Summary: Over time, NWP has been fortunate to learn from a wide range of writers. Here meet some of the poets and poet/teachers who shared their work and thinking with the network.

Pew Report Illustrates Impact of Digital Technologies on Student Writing

Summary: A well-balanced resource for those planning workshops, studying curriculum and developing grants, this report reviews the results of a 2013 survey of NWP and Advanced Placement teachers that focused on the ways digital technologies and tools are shaping the writing of middle and high school students and the practices...

Nurturing Middle School Readers through Reviews and Book Trailers

Author: Jeremy Hyler Summary: Are you and your students looking for an escape from traditional book reports? Is it time to go digital? Check out this brief description of a strategy for engaging students as book reviewers and producers of 30-second book trailers using Animoto. A side-by-side graphic compares instructions...

Writing Essays by Formula Teaches Students How Not to Think

Author: David Labaree Summary: What happens when we allow a tool to become our desired outcome? Education scholar David Labaree explores the dominance of the five-paragraph essay (and its lengthier relatives), and examines the consequences of valuing form over content and meaning.

Subversive Acts of Revision: Writing and Justice

Author: Heather Bruce Summary: Bruce explains how revision can be taught as a tool to critique unjust texts. She writes, “We must …speak back to those who would take our power from us and continue a legacy of damage to our students.” Reading this piece could spark powerful conversations about...