National Writing Project

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Research - Teaching Writing

Featured Resources

Three New Books Aim to Provide Comprehensive Reviews of Research in Writing

December 2007
Elizabeth Radin Simons
These books review the last thirty years' research on the teaching of writing and offer a bonanza of knowledge about writing for both researchers and practitioners. More ›

Book Review: Literacies, Lies, and Silences: Girls Writing Lives, by Heather E. Bruce

The Quarterly, 2004
Shirley Brown
Brown reviews this text, which demonstrates how the inclusion of intensive writing in a women's studies course can enable girls to reexamine their lives and gain courage to know and be themselves. More ›

TR 24. Exploring the Cognition of Reading-to-Write

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 2003
Victoria Stein
This report describes how a comparison of the think-aloud protocols of 36 students showed differences in ways students monitored their comprehension, elaborated, structured the reading, and planned their texts. More ›

 

Additional Resources

Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works

April 2013
NWP is one of 30 stakeholder education organizations associated with the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE). The first major research findings from the group were released in its report Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works. The report's survey participants include the NWP's nationwide network of teacher-leaders. More ›

Automated Writing Instruction: Computer-Assisted or Computer-Driven Pedagogies?

Machine Scoring of Student Essays: Truth and Consequences, August 2012
In this essay, author Beth Ann Rothermel describes the heavy marketing of machine-writing programs to K–12 administrators and teachers. Rothermel argues that these programs narrow and constrict the work of both the writer and teacher, and teachers of preservice teachers need to consider these implications. More ›

What Difference Do Writing Fellows Programs Make?

The WAC Journal, July 2012
Dara Rossman Regaignon, Pamela Bromley
To examine the direct impact Writing Fellows programs have on students' writing, Dara Rossman Regaignon and Pamela Bromley launch a pilot program at Pomona College. Their report describes the methods they took in obtaining participants, the feedback and portfolio assessment given, and the results they found. More ›

The Development of Writing-Intensive School Environments over Time

November 2011
Avary Carhill, Anne Campos, Nancy Mintz, Marcie Wolfe
This report, based on the work of the New York City Writing Project, suggests that a consistent focus on literacy development across content areas (curricular cohesiveness) cannot be achieved in the absence of a mature professional community. Furthermore, a mature professional community will continue to benefit from professional development aimed at sustaining and enhancing an environment with a high degree of writing intensity, which ultimately affects both teacher practice and student learning outcomes. More ›

Evaluating Project WRITE: Determining the Impact of a Professional Development Program Focusing on a Writing Workshop Approach and the Traits of Quality Writing

November 2011
Sarah Hunt-Barron, Rebecca Kaminski, Dawn Hawkins, Harriett Williams
This report examines the effects of a yearlong, school-based professional development program on teacher practice and philosophy put on by South Carolina's Upstate Writing Project, and suggests that a workshop approach incorporating the traits of quality writing can be an effective way to prepare students for high-stakes testing and student writing performance. More ›

Theory, Politics, Hope, and Action

The Quarterly, 2003
Carole Edelsky
In this article Edelsky employs the arguments of theory and the techniques of case study to make a plea for rationality in the education of English language learners. More ›

Talking Education with James Harvey

The Voice, May-June 2003
Amy Bauman
Harvey proposes that, although everyone wants high achievement for all students, what goes on outside school has as much to do with academic success as what goes on in school. More ›

Book Review: School's Out! by Glynda Hull and Katherine Schultz

The Quarterly, Spring 2003
Monie Hayes
Hayes find this book's greatest strength to be the "solid attention it gives to the growing body of research into out-of-school literacies and their relationship to scholastic goals." More ›

Because Writing Matters: A Book That Shares What We Know

The Quarterly, Winter 2003
Art Peterson
This NWP book pulls together the concepts that have generated the successful practice of writing project teachers and makes the case for what needs to be done to advance the teaching of writing in schools. More ›

Brief Reviews of Major Works of James Moffett

The Voice, January-February 2001
John Warnock
John Warnock briefly sketches the works of James Moffett, emphasizing ideas for classroom practice found in his work. More ›

Book Review: John Dewey and the Challenge of Classroom Practice, by Fishman & McCarthy

The Quarterly, Spring 1998
Dixie Dellinger
Dellinger is moved by classroom teacher Steve Fishman's efforts to apply the teachings and understanding of John Dewey to his life and his classroom. More ›

Book Review: The Book of Learning and Forgetting, by Frank Smith

The Quarterly, Summer 1998
Bob Sizoo
Sizoo describes the "mixed feelings" the teachers he workers with feel toward this text, which advocates for "Classic Learning" (effortless, continual, independent ) over the "Official Theory" (occasional, individualistic, intentional). More ›

Jim Moffett: 1929-1996: An Appreciation

The Quarterly, Winter 1997
James Gray
More ›

The More Things Change...Or Do They?

The Quarterly, Spring 1996
Excerpts from Brereton's collection of documents, The Origins of Composition Studies in the American College, 1875–1925: A Documentary History, demonstrate that hotly debated issues surrounding compositions instruction 100 years ago are still with us. More ›

OP 40. Revealing the Teacher-as-Reader: A Framework for Discussion and Learning

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1995
Melanie Sperling
Sperling offers a framework for thinking about the perspective that teachers bring to reading students' writing, identifying five ways that one teacher reader oriented herself to her student writers and their writing. More ›

OP 35. Confronting the Split between "The Child" and Children: Toward New Curricular Visions of the Child Writer

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1994
Anne Haas Dyson
Dyson uses everyday school experiences to reconstruct our image of "the child." She suggests that rethinking dominant images might help teachers better meet curricular challenges to reflect the diversity of the children they teach. More ›

OP 36. Moving Writing Research into the 21st Century

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1994
Sarah Warshauer Freedman
Freedman argues that writing research benefits by inclusiveness. Using her research on learning to write in inner-city schools, Freedman shows how research on the learning of diverse populations pushes educators to elaborate existing theories. More ›

TR 68. Crossing the Bridge to Practice: Rethinking the Theories of Vygotsky and Bakhtin

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1994
Sarah Warshauer Freedman
The author's study of secondary school classrooms in the United States and Britain reveals that when teachers apply the theories of Vygotsky and Bakhtin, these theories are not always useful guides for classroom practice. More ›

TR 69. Implications of Cognitive Psychology for Authentic Assessment and Instruction

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1994
Robert C. Calfee
Calfee offers a brief historical sketch of developments in the psychology of learning as the basis for presenting an assessment model that relies on teacher judgments for both internal and external accountability. More ›

TR 70. The Ninjas, the X-Men, and the Ladies: Playing with Power and Identity in an Urban Primary School

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1994
Anne Haas Dyson
Dyson analyzes children's symbolic and social use of superhero stories—popular media stories that vividly reveal societal beliefs about power and gender, which are themselves interwoven in complex ways with race, class, and physical demeanor. More ›

TR 65. Student Portfolios and Teacher Logs: Blueprint for a Revolution in Assessment

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1993
Robert C. Calfee, Pam Perfumo
The authors present a new concept of alternative assessment: the teacher logbook, designed to support and effectuate the portfolio approach and to connect portfolios to other facets of teacher professionalization. More ›

TR 66. Linking Classroom Discourse and Classroom Content: Following the Trail of Intellectual Work in a Writing Lesson

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1993
Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Cynthia Greenleaf
The authors analyze a whole-class interaction in a ninth grade English classroom, revealing its underlying intellectual structure, the cognitive skills required for successful student participation, and the strategies students apply to the task. More ›

TR 67. From Invention to Social Action in Early Childhood Literacy: A Reconceptualization through Dialogue about Difference

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1993
Anne Haas Dyson
Dyson contrasts dominant assumptions about appropriate developmental practices (i.e., invented spelling, process writing) with children's interpretations of those practices, interpretations grounded in children's social and cultural worlds. More ›

OP 31. Writing Matters

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1992
Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Fred Hechinger
This paper, written for a general audience, synthesizes research findings of the National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy and discusses the implications of these findings for teachers, parents, students, and policymakers. More ›

OP 32. From Prop to Mediator: The Changing Role of Written Language in Children's Symbolic Repertoires

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1992
Anne Haas Dyson
Dyson argues there is no linear progression in written language development in early childhood; rather, written language emerges most strongly when embedded within a child's total symbolic repertoire such as drawing and playing. More ›

TR 57. Technological Indeterminacy: The Role of Classroom Writing Practices in Shaping Computer Use

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Cynthia Greenleaf
This study examines the integration of computers into a remedial high school English class, concluding that the teacher's writing instruction had the greatest impact on student writing and the ways computers entered into writing. More ›

TR 58. Composition in the Context of CAP: A Case Study of the Interplay Between Assessment and School Life

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Peggy Trump Loofbourrow
This study examines the impact of a large-scale writing assessment on the life of one junior high school, analyzing how teachers and administrators at the school prepared students for this assessment. More ›

TR 59. Constructing a Research Paper: A Study of Students' Goals and Approaches

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Jennie Nelson
This study of twenty-one college freshmen considers the processes involved in writing an academic research paper in order to determine whether "high-investment" reading and writing processes such as note-taking led to higher-quality papers. More ›

TR 60.Collaboration Between Children Learning to Write: Can Novices Be Masters?

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Colette Daiute, Bridget Dalton
The authors analyze individual and collaborative stories produced by low-achieving urban third-graders to illustrate that children can learn and use complex story elements by working with their peers. More ›

TR 62. Nested Contexts: A Basic Writing Adjunct Program and the Challenge of "Educational Equity,"

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Anne DiPardo
This study examines one university's efforts to promote the academic success of underrepresented minority students through a basic writing adjunct program. More ›

TR 63. "Whistle for Willie," Lost Puppies, and Cartoon Dogs: The Sociocultural Dimensions of Young Children's Composing, or Toward Unmelting Pedagogical Pots

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Anne Haas Dyson
Drawing on data from an urban elementary school, Dyson suggests that the "process" approach to teaching writing may be too rigidly implemented to allow for the needs of young writers in multicultural classrooms. More ›

TR 64. Ideological Divergences in a Teacher Research Group

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Shawn Parkhurst, Sandra R. Schecter
The authors focus on differing ideologies of research, teaching/learning, and writing held by members of a teacher research group, providing evidence that divisions exist within the teacher research movement that are intellectually and socially important. More ›

TR 48. Dialogues of Deliberation: Conversation in the Teacher-Student Writing Conference

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1991
Melanie Sperling
Sperling focuses on three students in a ninth grade English class as they converse individually with their teacher about their ongoing writing. She examines how such conversations contribute to the process of learning to write. More ›

TR 50. A Teacher-Research Group in Action

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1991
Rafael Ramirez, Sandra R. Schecter
Based on a two-year study of a university-affiliated teacher-research group, this article addresses the support teachers need in order to conduct classroom research, the effects of becoming researchers, and the knowledge teacher research can provide. More ›

TR 52. Planning Text Together: The Role of Critical Reflection in Student Collaboration

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1991
Linda Flower, Lorraine Higgins, Joseph Petraglia
The authors argue that student collaboration does not necessarily foster critical reflection in writing tasks; however, those who engage in reflective thinking as a result of collaboration are more likely to produce high-quality plans. More ›

Interview with James Britton: "It needs to be from within..."

The Quarterly, Fall 1991
James E. Lobdell
Britton speaks of the relationship between teachers' classroom experiences and the writing of stories, the differences between educational research in the United States and the UK, and the importance of teacher research. More ›

TR 44. Remediation as Social Construct: Perspectives from an Analysis of Classroom Discourse

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, February 1991
Marisa Castellano, Kay Losey Fraser, Glynda Hull, Mike Rose
The authors examine ways in which notions of learners as remedial can be played out in the classroom. They look at one college student and detail the processes by which she is defined as remedial. More ›

Vygotsky and the Teaching of Writing

The Quarterly, Summer 1991
Barbara Everson
Everson believes that although Vygotsky was more interested in thought processes than language acquisition, most of his research in language development speaks to some aspect of writing instruction. More ›

An Interview with Linda Flower

The Quarterly, Winter 1991
Caroline Heller
Flower discusses the role of context in composing, her involvement with community literacy projects, and how her ideas and research have changed. More ›

OP 15. A Whole Language Approach to the Teaching of Bilingual Learners

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1990
Alex Moore
Two London teachers and a fifteen–year–old immigrant Bangladeshi student work together on drafts of the student's autobiography, illustrating how sensitive teaching can contribute to the development of writing skills for nonnative speakers. More ›

OP 19. Weaving Possibilities: Rethinking Metaphors for Early Literacy Development

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1990
Anne Haas Dyson
Dyson argues that we must attend not only to the vertical "scaffolding" of young children's efforts but also to the horizontal "weaving" of their diverse intentions and resources. More ›

OP 20. On Teaching Writing: A Review of the Literature

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1990
Anne Haas Dyson, Sarah Warshauer Freedman
The authors review research about writing that may help focus teachers' observations, deepen their insights, and inform their crucial decisions about classroom practice. More ›

OP 22. "This Wooden Shack Place": The Logic of an Unconventional Reading

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1990
Glynda Hull, Mike Rose
The authors analyze an interaction between Rose and a student in a remedial college composition class, illustrating the role of conversation as a way of making meaning when discussing literature. More ›

OP 23. Changing Views of Language in Education and the Implications for Literacy Research: An Interactional Sociological Perspective

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1990
Jenny Cook-Gumperz, John J. Gumperz
In examining classroom language, the authors suggest a perspective which sees this language as a process of verbal communication that includes culture-bound and contextual knowledge. More ›

TR 43. "This Was an Easy Assignment": Examining How Students Interpret Academic Writing Tasks

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1990
Jennie Nelson
This study examines how thirteen college freshmen interpreted writing assignments in a variety of courses and how these interpretations differed from the intentions of the instructors making the assignments. More ›

TR 18. Readers as Writers Composing from Sources

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, February 1989
James R. King, Nancy Nelson Spivey
This study examines the report-writing of sixth-, eighth-, and tenth-graders, showing how accomplished and less accomplished readers work with source texts and compose their own new texts. More ›

TR 17. Written Rhetorical Syntheses: Processes and Products

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, January 1989
Margaret Kantz
Kantz analyzes the composing processes and written products of three undergraduates and gives quantitative analyses of a group of seventeen undergraduate research papers. More ›

TR 33. Social Context and Socially Constructed Texts: The Initiation of a Graduate Student into a Writing Research Community

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, July 1989
John Ackerman, Carol Berkenkotter, Thomas N. Huckin
The authors examine a case-study doctoral student's writing development as he learns how to produce the type of academic prose valued by the professional community. More ›

TR 32. Foundations for Creativity in the Writing Process: Rhetorical Representations of Ill-defined Problems

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, June 1989
Linda J. Carey, Linda Flower
This paper examines the composing process of expert writers working in expository genres. Taking a problem-solving perspective, the authors address the concept of creativity in writing as it is embedded in ordinary cognitive processes. More ›

TR 19. Rethinking Remediation: Toward a Social-Cognitive Understanding of Problematic Reading and Writing

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Glynda Hull, Mike Rose
The authors reveal what writing strategies, habits, rules, and assumptions characterize the writing skills of underprepared community college students and suggest a pedagogy to move such students toward more conventional discourse. More ›

TR 21. Studying Cognition in Context: Introduction to the Study

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Linda Flower
This report introduces the Reading-to-Write project, which examined the cognitive processes of reading-to-write as they were embedded in the social context of a college course. More ›

TR 22. Promises of Coherence, Weak Content, and Strong Organization: An Analysis of the Student Text

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Margaret Kantz
This report describes the ways that readers saw the structures in a set of freshman essays and discusses the problems the judges had in agreeing on how some students had interpreted the writing assignment. More ›

TR 25. Elaboration: Using What You Know

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Victoria Stein
This report provides a look at the process of elaboration that allows students to use prior knowledge, not only for comprehension and critical thinking, but also for structuring and planning their papers. More ›

TR 26. The Effects of Prompts upon Revision: A Glimpse of the Gap Between Planning and Performance

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Wayne C. Peck
This report analyzes the think-aloud protocols and finished texts of students asked to revise a written assignment. More ›

TR 27. Translating Context into Action

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
John Ackerman
This report describes the initial reading strategies nearly every freshman in Ackerman's study used. From this point, students then had to construct a solution path that may or may not have used this initial approach. More ›

TR 30. Expanding the Repertoire: An Anthology of Practical Approaches for the Teaching of Writing

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Kathleen McCormick
These classroom approaches help students explore their assumptions about their reading and writing processes, become more aware of the cognitive and cultural implications of their choices, and find alternative approaches to the writing task. More ›

TR 31. Strategic Differences in Composing: Consequences for Learning Through Writing

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Ann M. Penrose
Penrose reports on a study of college freshman writers in which she identifies those features of the writing process that may influence learning. More ›

TR 37. I want to Talk to Each of You: Collaboration and the Teacher-Student Writing Conference

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, October 1989
Melanie Sperling
Sperling examines teacher-student writing conferences in a ninth grade English class for six case-study students, showing how collaboration between teacher and student encourages students' learning as writers. More ›

TR 16. How the Writing Context Shapes College Students' Strategies for Writing from Sources

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, August 1988
John R. Hayes, Jennie Nelson
This study explores processes college students use to write assigned research papers. More ›

TR 13. Writing and Reading: The Transactional Theory

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, January 1988
Louise M. Rosenblatt
This report focuses on some epistemologically based concepts concerning the comparison of the reading and writing processes that Rosenblatt believes merit fuller study and application in teaching and research. More ›

TR 14. National Surveys of Successful Teachers of Writing and Their Students

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1988
Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Alex McLeod
For this study, Freedman and McLeod collected self-report survey data from successful elementary and secondary teachers of writing and from a sample of secondary students in the U.K. to parallel Freedman's 1987 U.S. survey data. Based on these surveys, this report compares the teaching and learning of writing in the two countries, focusing on what occurs inside classrooms as writing gets taught and learned. May, 1988; 49 pages. More ›

TR 15. Negotiating Among Multiple Worlds: The Space/Time Dimensions of Young Children's Composing

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1988
Anne Haas Dyson
In this examination of the drawing, talking, and writing of primary students, Dyson focuses on children's growing awareness of text time and space as they develop as authors of fictional prose. More ›

TR 08. Writing and Reading in the Classroom

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, August 1987
James Britton
Britton discusses strategies teachers have developed for encouraging children to learn to write-and-read—activities that together create a literacy learning environment. More ›

TR 09. Individual Differences in Beginning Composing: An Orchestral Vision of Learning to Write

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, August 1987
Anne Haas Dyson
Looking in depth at three first-graders during classroom journal time, Dyson explores the interconnections of the children's speaking, writing, and drawing as indications of their developing acquisition of written language. More ›

TR 06. The Role of Task Representation in Reading-to-Write

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, June 1987
Linda Flower
Flower examines the ways different college writers interpret a "standard" writing task, demonstrating how students construct different representations of a task, leading to differences in their texts and their writing process. More ›

TR 03. A Good Girl Writes Like a Good Girl: Written Response and Clues to the Teaching/Learning Process

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1987
Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Melanie Sperling
The authors present a case study of a high-achieving student in a ninth-grade English class, exploring and analyzing sources of the student's misunderstanding of teacher-written response to her writing. More ›

TR 12. Peer Response Groups in Two Ninth-Grade Classrooms

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, October 1987
Sarah Warshauer Freedman
Freedman looks at peer response groups in two ninth-grade college preparatory classrooms, analyzing how students' face-to-face interactions reveal how they approach their writing processes. More ›

TR 04. Historical Overview: Groups in the Writing Classroom

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, September 1987
Anne DiPardo, Sarah Warshauer Freedman
The authors review research on peer groups in the writing class. They discuss the role of groups in the collaborative process of language learning and suggest directions for future research on collaborative learning. More ›

TR 07. A Sisyphean Task: Historical Perspectives on the Relationship Between Writing and Reading Instruction

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, September 1987
Geraldine Joncich Clifford
Using perspectives drawn from American educational and social history, Clifford identifies historical forces that have influenced English education. More ›

TR 10. Movement into Word Reading and Spelling: How Spelling Contributes to Reading

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, September 1987
Linnea C. Ehri
Drawing on studies of the role of spelling in the reading process, Ehri discusses ways in which spelling contributes to the development of reading and, conversely, how reading contributes to spelling development. More ›

Writing Research, Present and Future

The Quarterly, July 1985
Owen Boyle
More ›

The Problem of Teacher Authority

The Quarterly, November 1980
Miles Myers
More ›

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