Sharing the Pen: Interactive Writing with Young Children

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9780131129658: Sharing the Pen: Interactive Writing with Young Children

This engaging book, co-authored by one of the most respected literacy and language arts authors today, is the resource for teaching interactive writing to children. Everything you need to know in order to gain these instructional skills is presented in a clearly written, interesting format. Step-by-step implementation ideas, relevant student feedback, and an easy-to-use chart of teacher guidelines clearly illustrate how phonemic awareness, phonics, print awareness, and vocabulary can be incorporated into writing lessons; how this system can be used with ESL learners; and how it can be adapted to meet your specific goals. Dozens of lessons that are ideal for sparking the interest of early writers are accompanied by a description of why and how it improves writing. Topics covered include: the writing continuum, grouping options, building on favorite words, creating research murals, current events skills, illustrations and context, story innovations, writing poetry, science and interactive writing, recycled writing, using the computer, teaching revision, interactive writing as an assessment tool, and writing with older novice writers. An excellent resource for elementary school educators.

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About the Author:

Gail Tompkins I'm a teacher, first and foremost. I began my career as a first-grade teacher in Virginia in the 1970s. I remember one first grader who cried as the first day of school was ending. When I tried to comfort him, he sobbed accusingly, "I came to first grade to learn to read and write and you forgot to teach me." The next day, I taught that child and his classmates to read and write! We made a small patterned book about one of the stuffed animals in the classroom. I wrote some of the words and the students supplied the others, and I duplicated copies of the book for each child. We practiced reading it until everyone memorized our little book. The children proudly took their books home to read to their parents. I've never forgotten that child's comment and what it taught me: Teachers must understand their students and meet their expectations. My first few years of teaching left me with more questions than answers, and I wanted to become a more effective teacher so I started taking graduate courses. In time I earned a master's degree and then a doctorate in Reading/Language Arts, both from Virginia Tech. Through my graduate studies, I learned a lot of answers, but more importantly, I learned to keep on asking questions. Then I began teaching at the university level. First I taught at Miami University in Ohio, then at the University of Oklahoma, and finally at California State University, Fresno. I've taught preservice teachers and practicing teachers working on master's degrees, and I've directed doctoral dissertations. I've received awards for my teaching, including the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching at California State University, Fresno, and I was inducted intothe California Reading Association's Reading Hall of Fame. Throughout the years, my students have taught me as much as I taught them. I'm grateful to all of them for what I've learned. I've been writing college textbooks for more than 20 years, and I think of the books I write as teaching, too. I'll be teaching you as you read this text. As I write a book, I try to anticipate the questions you might ask and provide that information. I also include students' samples so you can see concepts that I'm explaining.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

SHARING THE PEN: INTERACTIVE WRITING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending an institute sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project in Fresno, California. I did a presentation on interactive writing, an exciting writing strategy I had just begun using with my kindergarten class. A few months later, Dr. Gail Tompkins asked me to coordinate a weeklong series of workshops on interactive writing in a nearby school district. As I started contacting teachers and viewing their presentations on interactive writing, I began to realize even more what a powerful teaching strategy interactive writing is and appreciate the variety of ways teachers were integrating interactive writing into their daily writing activities.

The success of the workshops led Dr. Tompkins to the idea of putting all the different ways teachers were using interactive writing into a resource book that we could share with other teachers. We started meeting with Teacher Consultants in the Writing Project, discussing how we were using interactive writing in our classrooms. Soon, each of the teachers started writing about his or her favorite and most successful interactive writing lessons. We met over a series of months, reading each other's chapters and sharing thoughts and insights. We collected and analyzed students' work samples and tried out each other's lessons, which led to more discussion and refinement of our lessons and chapters.

THE RESULT

What resulted from the many exciting months of collecting, refining, and experimenting is the book in your hands. We hope this text will not only help you to understand interactive writing, but will provide you with many classroom-tested, meaningful ways of implementing interactive writing in your classroom.

Interactive writing is the bridge between more teacher-directed (or modeled) writing and independent writing. We made two important discoveries in looking so closely at interactive writing:

  1. Teachers can easily differentiate instruction to meet the needs of any student during an interactive writing session.
  2. Phonemic awareness, concepts about print, phonics, and vocabulary development can be incorporated easily into each interactive writing lesson.

We have many students in the San Joaquin Valley who speak English as a second language, as well as many struggling readers and writers; consequently, these discoveries were very important to us.

Because interactive writing is a strategy most commonly used with emergent and early writers, many chapters in this text are most applicable to kindergarten through third grade. We have, however, included a chapter on using interactive writing with older, struggling students.

Early chapters focus on the theory and implementation of interactive writing. The balance are individual lessons, or series of lessons, that teachers can use immediately in their own classrooms.

The San Joaquin Valley Writing Project is part of the National Writing Project (NWP), and there are NWP sites in every state. If you are interested in learning more about the NWP or joining your local site, contact the National Writing Project through its website at http://www.writingproject.org .

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