Now Online: Readers Writing

Even after modeling and guidance on how to critically respond to reading, many students still open their reader’s notebooks and write what resembles the traditional book report. The skills they need when writing on their own are different from those used in whole-class and small-group reading lessons or when responding to teacher-generated prompts.

In her new book, Readers Writing, Elizabeth Hale offers 93 practical strategy lessons that focus on the specific skills that kids need to write independently in response to reading. Organized by narrative and informational texts, the lessons follow a simple structure that works well with students of any ability level.

Chapters on comprehension, independence, conferring, and assessment support teachers in implementing the lessons within any reading curriculum. The appendix includes numerous book suggestions and how they can be used with the lessons, as well as correlations to CCSS ELA Anchor Standards to support strategic lesson planning and curriculum design.

Readers Writing will improve not only your students’ comprehension but also their critical thinking about reading and writing. You can now preview the entire book online now!


Add comment November 18th, 2014

Now Available Online: Nonfiction Notebooks

0952Many teachers use writers’ notebooks as an integral part of narrative and poetry writing instruction, but less so for nonfiction genres. Over many years in her classroom, Aimee Buckner, author of Notebook Know-How and Notebook Connections, has refined and expanded her use of notebooks to all writing genres. In her new book, Nonfiction Notebooks, Aimee shares a host of strategies for using notebooks to help students improve their nonfiction writing.

Concise and accessible, Nonfiction Notebooks will help you and your students:

• record craft and structure ideas while reading mentor texts;
• develop seed ideas, purpose, and vision by trying out different angles, tones, and formats before writing a first draft;
• write better first drafts so that revision can focus on such things as craft, leads, and sentence combining rather than extensive rewriting;
• create a place and habit of mind to write often and explore a topic, no matter what the genre, and become more independent writers.

The heart of the book presents 23 classroom-tested strategies for exploring topics, gathering information, predrafting, and crafting nonfiction writing pieces. Aimee provides snapshots of instruction, student and teacher dialogue, and dozens of student samples, giving readers a clear picture of how the strategies take shape in a real classroom. A final chapter on assessment includes a sample grading rubric, FAQs, two in-depth examples, and suggestions for formative assessment.

The entire book is available for preview on the Stenhouse website!

Add comment August 28th, 2013

Inside Notebooks — Lynne Dorfman

In the latest installment of our Stenhouse author notebook series, Lynne Dorfman shares pages from her writer’s notebook. Why do you keep a notebook? Upload a photo to our Facebook page and you could win a free Stenhouse book!

I love to write ideas down in different colored pens and watch the words spill onto a notebook page.  It’s both comforting and energizing to watch the flow from brain to hand to pen to page!  I use my notebook to write about people, places, and objects that I love or that I find unique in some way. My notebook is filled with snapshots of friends, relatives, and pets.  Rich descriptions of Long Beach Island, the Poconos, my grandma’s house, the stables, and my East Mt. Airy neighborhood are some of my favorite entries.

My notebook is always a place to store lists.  For example, after reading Names for Snow by Judi K. Beach I had the urge to brainstorm a list of names for autumn.  I came up with names such as Leaf Dropper, Best Dressed Gal, and Masquerader.   I love making lists because they often help me find a topic I want to write about or research.  My notebook is a place for memory chains, my heart and hand map, and my neighborhood map.  I put photos, ticket stubs, and clips from magazines and newspapers that will serve as memory joggers or topics I want to explore.  A running theme in all my notebooks is my grandfather, Alexander William Sulima.  I have so many snippets about all the things he taught me to do and to appreciate.

Finally, I use my notebook to study the work of other authors.  I explore their writing using the advice of Katie Wood Ray in Wondrous Words. Mentor texts are imitated here before I use them in classroom communities where I  write for and with talented, young writers.  I could not imagine a writer’s workshop without the notebook as a central part of how  writers live their daily lives.  I am grateful to Ralph Fletcher, Aimee E. Buckner, and Katie Wood Ray for all their advice and inspiration they have provided in their professional publications about writer’s notebook!

1 comment March 20th, 2012

Inside notebooks: Rose Cappelli

I am sure that Rose Cappelli is not the only one who has quite a collection of notebooks. She shares a picture here along with some thoughts about how notebooks are like “pockets.” Rose is the coauthor of Mentor Texts and Nonfiction Mentor Texts.

I remember reading A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You and thinking about how Ralph Fletcher compared notebooks to different objects, each with a different purpose. I knew right away that my notebook was like a pocket – a place where I stuff lots of things, including ideas. In any of my notebooks you might find newspaper clippings, copies of poems, letters, emails, scraps of paper scrawled with book suggestions, even a fortune from a fortune cookie stuck between the pages. And, there are lots of lists – lists of books, lists of words, lists of memories.

You can see several of my notebooks in the picture. I only write in one at a time, but I love looking through the old ones to see where I’ve been, what I’ve tried from mentor texts and authors, and what I may look at again from a fresh perspective. My notebooks help me move forward in my writing and my thinking, but they are always a place to come home to.

1 comment March 14th, 2012

Inside notebooks — Liz Hale

We continue our Stenhouse author notebook series with an entry from Liz Hale, author of Crafting Writers, K-6. Don’t forget to upload a picture and a description of your notebook for a chance to win a free Stenhouse book! Just visit our Facebook page to upload your photo.

Before I start a new chapter for a book, I always take out my white, legal notepad where I write out and sketch my ideas. Even though I type faster than I write, I much prefer the freedom that comes with a notebook.   These lined pages have no expectations of me and they match the messy process of brainstorming and planning.  I can spill out my ideas and see them all in front of me like a dumped bag of pick-up sticks.  Then, by adding phrases, crossing out sentences, and drawing arrows and stars, I can start making sense of what I want to include in the chapter.

Technology, of course, also offers these features of moving, crossing out, and highlighting text.  But there is something about using a pen on paper that, for me, can’t be replaced for this kind of thinking.  I like the feel and purity of the ballpoint pen on paper and the simplicity that involves no batteries, software or electricity.  Unlike the Word document pages of my laptop, which have a crisp, hurried New York City feel to them, my notebook pages offer a space away from that place where the product reigns supreme.  With my pen and paper, I am not rushed.  My hands slow down, my thinking slows down and the simple, unassuming paper doesn’t mind.

Add comment March 13th, 2012

Inside notebooks — Stacey Shubitz

We continue our peek into Stenhouse author notebooks this morning with a picture from Stacey Shubitz, coauthor of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice.

You can upload your own notebook photo to our Facebook page for a chance to win a free Stenhouse book!

The content of my writer’s notebooks changes with the woman I am at any given time.  If you look back to my notebooks from ten years ago, they’re about a woman living in New York City preparing to become a teacher.  Five years ago my notebooks contained lots of entries about the children I was teaching and the man I was about to marry.  Today my writer’s notebooks are almost entirely dedicated to preserving snippets of family life with my husband Marc and our daughter Isabelle.  The one thing that is almost always the same, though, is that I favor spiral spined notebooks so I can easily write on the front and back of each page.

Isabelle has captivated me and my writing in a way nothing else ever has.  I love to write about her advancements, the things she babbles, the silly things she does, and the way she walks (er, crawls) through life.  Together with my camera, my writer’s notebook allows me to capture the most precious moments of her life right now.  Without my notebook, I would forget so many of the amazing things she does to make me smile, laugh, and delight in the person she is right now.

3 comments March 5th, 2012

Inside notebooks – Ralph Fletcher

We continue our Stenhouse author notebook series with Ralph Fletcher. Here is what he said about his notebook habit, which has been going on for quite a bit, as you can see from one of his notebook covers:

“When I visit schools I tell students that my most important book is a book that has never been and never will be published–my writer’s notebook. This is the book that feeds all my other books. I use my notebook in many different ways: to collect odd bits of flotsam and jetsam, to play with language, to react, muse, daydream, collect seed ideas, maybe take a stab at new poem. My notebook is a low-pressure, high-comfort place where I can find my stride as a writer.”

1 comment February 29th, 2012

Inside notebooks

“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. (Joan Didion)

What’s in your notebook? What does it look like?

For the next few weeks we’ll be taking a peek into the writing habits of Stenhouse authors who have graciously agreed to give us a glimpse into their notebooks. We invite you to share pictures of your notebooks as well — just visit our Facebook page and upload a photo with a brief comment about why and how you keep a notebook. We’ll select a few entries randomly to receive a free Stenhouse book.

We’ll start off our series with the notebook of Stenhouse editor Bill Varner. I noticed it on a pile of papers on his desk and asked him to take a quick photo and share his thoughts about keeping a notebook. Here is what he said:

“I’ve had a notebook off and on for many years. Mostly off. I used to scoff at paying for anything other than a cheap spiral bound notebook, but this black Moleskine is worth the price. It makes me want to write in it. What do I write? Mostly stray lines, a metaphor that pops into my head, an interesting quote, words that I just find fascinating, especially verbs.”

1 comment February 28th, 2012

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