Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman believe that writing workshop is the best approach to teaching writing, and they want every teacher to discover the same. In their new book, Welcome to the Writing Workshop: Engaging Today’s Students with a Model That Works they invite both new and veteran teachers to embrace the writing workshop through simple, easy-to-use tools, and resources.
Here’s what they had to say about this exciting new resource in a recent interview.
Q: What’s inside your new professional resource, Welcome to the Writing Workshop?
Lynne: Welcome to Writing Workshop is a very friendly overview of the key components of the workshop approach. Inside you’ll find everything you need to do a workshop. We talk about conferring, we talk about minilessons, shared sessions, small-group instruction, etc. We talk about reflection and assessment and we do it in a friendly way so when teachers are reading this book they will feel like Stacey and I are sitting next to them, having a conversation about a workshop approach, and what that looks like in classrooms.
Stacey: There are a whole bunch of goodies in this book. There are many helpful reproducibles, as well as over 30 video clips of teachers, principals, curriculum directors—different people talking about different aspects of writing workshop. But you also hear the kids talking, whether it's in a conference with their teacher, participating in the active engagement of a minilesson, or just talking about why writing matters to them. You hear lots of different voices and I think that is what makes this book really unique.
Q: What inspired you to write Welcome to the Writing Workshop?
Stacey: In many places where we consult, we noticed that teachers were being handed a writing program to implement, but they didn't understand the fundamentals of writing workshop. We wanted to create this book to help teachers understand the basic principles and building blocks of writing workshop so they can go forth and use whatever program or curriculum their district has for them and implement it in a meaningful way.
Lynne: There isn't a book out there like this right now that's current. Whether or not you’re a teacher in a school that already has a writing program or a school that has absolutely no writing program, this book provides a solid routine, a structure, practical tips, and resources that can be used to do a writing workshop in whatever situation, and I think that's really important.
Q: Do you think this book will be most helpful for new teachers or veteran teachers?
Stacey: I think that this book can be helpful to new teachers, as well as teachers who have been teaching for 5, 10, 15 or more years, but they're new to writing workshop. Another group of people this book is meant for are pre-service teachers—people in school for an undergraduate or graduate program studying to become a teacher.
Lynne: This book can also be used by the cooperating teachers—the classroom teachers who are mentors for either pre-service teachers, brand new first-year teachers, or teachers within an induction program. Literacy leaders of the school could also read this book and use it as a study group or as a way to have a conversation with these new teachers as they are trying it out in their classroom.
Q: What do you hope teachers will learn from Welcome to the Writing Workshop?
Lynne: I think teachers are going to learn that writing workshop is the best approach to the teaching of writing. It's the most doable approach and it's the one that I believe is going to lead every child in their classroom to the success that teachers are all hoping for. Teachers want to help kids think, “I am a writer.” Writing workshop raises each and every student in your classroom to believe, “I am a writer and when I write, other people are going to listen to me. I'm going to have a voice.” And that is very powerful.
Stacey: This book will also help teachers understand how to create a community so they are able to run a really efficient, beautiful writing workshop where kids are writers. We tried to infuse community throughout the book because community matters. Writing workshop is just so different than anything else and I think that's what makes it so lovely.
To learn more about how to bring Stacey and Lynne’s ideas into your writing instruction, go HERE to preorder Welcome to the Writing Workshop.