National Writing Project

Breakthroughs: Classroom Discoveries About Teaching Writing

Edited by Amy Bauman and Art Peterson (2002)

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Breakthroughs makes a unique contribution to the discussion of teaching writing. The text takes a step back from general concepts and practical lessons to ask "Where do good teaching ideas come from?" In twenty-five essays, National Writing Project teachers take readers on the journey that led them to ask and answer such questions as "How can students find the stories that advance their ideas in essays?" and "How can students be prodded to continue to work beyond a first draft?"

Some of these ideas were inspired by talking with colleagues. Others sprang from desperation. But in all cases the writers detail the practical application of their "breakthroughs," describing not only their successes but also their glitches.

While Breakthroughs reminds readers of where teaching ideas come from, it also provides nuts-and-bolts advice in areas of common concern: How do we generate student writing? What strategies can we use to help students with problems of form and style? How can students find a real audience? Can we find fresh ways to respond to and evaluate student work? How can we promote writing in all subject areas?

Readers of Breakthroughs will be rewarded with many ideas they can bring into their classroom, but, also, like the authors represented in this collection, they will be inspired to create fresh classroom solutions.

Read an excerpt from Breakthroughs in the Fall 2002 issue of The Quarterly.

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