1st Edition

Teaching Beginning Writers

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ISBN 9781462520114
Published May 27, 2015 by Guilford Press
212 Pages

USD $27.00

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Book Description

An essential "how-to" primer, this book examines the process of learning to write and shares evidence-based instructional strategies for the primary grades. With an emphasis on explicit instruction and scaffolding students' learning, the authors explain when and how to teach handwriting, spelling, foundational skills such as sentence formation and editing, and composition in specific genres. They present clear-cut techniques for assessment, differentiation, and supporting struggling writers. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Writing are used as a framework for setting instructional goals. Reproducible assessment forms, checklists, and rubrics are provided; purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials in a convenient 8 1/2" x 11" size.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. How Writing Develops
3. Teaching Handwriting
4. Teaching Spelling
5. Teaching Sentence Construction
6. Genre-Specific Writing Instruction
7. Teaching Students to Write Book Reviews
8. Teaching Students to Write Narratives
9. Teaching Students to Write Descriptions
10. Supporting Students with Writing Needs
11. Conclusion: Meeting the Challenges of Early Writing Instruction
Appendix A Letter-Writing Assessment
Appendix B Sound-Spelling Assessment
Appendix C Rubrics for Opinion Texts
Appendix D Rubrics for Narrative Texts
Appendix E Rubrics for Informative/Explanatory Texts

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David L. Coker Jr., EdD, is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. His research focuses on writing development, early writing assessment, and effective approaches to writing instruction. A former classroom teacher, Dr. Coker is coauthor of Developing Strategic Writers through Genre Instruction and has published articles in leading journals of literacy, educational psychology, and learning disabilities.

Kristen D. Ritchey, PhD, is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on assessment and intervention for elementary-age students with reading and writing disabilities. Dr. Ritchey’s recent work includes the development of screening and multi-tiered interventions for fourth- and fifth-grade students with reading disabilities, and the development of early-writing curriculum-based measures. She has published articles in several leading journals.


"An invaluable guide for preservice, novice, and experienced teachers who need a thorough background in the complexities of teaching writing to young children. The authors maintain an eminently readable style throughout their reviews of relevant research and in their practical suggestions for instruction and assessment. Careful attention is given to the often-neglected and thorny issue of handwriting instruction. The book addresses the most common questions and dilemmas educators face as they teach writing in the era of accountability and the Common Core. It will serve as an excellent companion to textbooks on Writer's Workshop."--Laura Klenk, PhD, Department of Elementary Education and Reading, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

"This easy-to-read, easy-to-apply, and logical book is supported by research and theory.  Guiding questions, sample teacher language, reproducible materials, and student work samples all come together to produce a handbook for instructing and assessing young writers. New teachers and those already in the trenches who recognize the challenge of connecting core curriculum to writing instruction will find this book helpful. The strategies in this book could stand alone or support a curriculum already in place."--Jo Anne Pryor Deshon, EdD, retired teacher, Christina School District, Newark, Delaware

"Primary-grade teachers who wish to deliver their best and most effective writing instruction will appreciate this thoughtful and practical book. The chapters on handwriting, spelling, and sentence writing instruction alone are treasured gold (with excellent conceptual guides and teaching examples), but there’s so much more, from the three basic genres in the CCSS to specific adaptations in multi-tiered systems of support for at-risk students and students with disabilities. The practical aspects of the book--teaching examples, concrete descriptions, and real-world writing examples--make it stand out as a go-to resource for teachers and teacher educators. It would be a great addition to the reading list of an undergraduate or graduate introductory writing methods course."--Gary A. Troia, PhD, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University