National Writing Project

Resources for Selecting Readings and Research for the Summer Institute

Date: October 2008

Summary: This resource outlines some of the criteria for selecting summer institute readings and describes bibliographies that include readings that address the social issues affecting a local site's communities.


NWP's summer invitational institutes develop teacher leadership by building the knowledge and skills of their summer fellows. They are distinctive as professional development events because teachers' knowledge and skills take center stage in all three components of the institute: teaching demonstrations, writing groups, and teacher–led inquiry into current professional literature and current research into the teaching of writing.

The National Writing Project has collected a wide range of resources about the teaching of writing and about literacy more broadly.

The leaders of summer invitational institutes select readings on the teaching of writing based on a number of criteria. While there is no required national reading list for NWP sites, site leaders typically consider some of the following criteria when selecting readings:

  1. Does the reading address the current issues in the teaching of writing facing teachers in the local writing project's service area?
  2. Is the research carefully and thoughtfully executed?
  3. Is the reading well written? Could it serve as a model for the teachers' own professional writing?
  4. Does the reading address issues of teaching writing to diverse students?
  5. Does the reading represent the best of current research in the teaching of writing?
  6. Does the reading support the development of teacher leadership?

Writing project sites select readings, both whole books and journal articles, from a variety of disciplines: composition, rhetoric, literacy studies, education, professional development, school reform, and reading.

Typically, summer institutes provide teachers with three kinds of readings: common readings that establish a shared vocabulary for the whole group, readings that gather together teachers with similar interests (such as grade–level groups, or teachers of special populations), and readings that support individual teachers' interests.

Bibliographies for Summer Institute Reading Lists

The National Writing Project has collected a wide range of resources about the teaching of writing and about literacy more broadly. We understand that the teaching of writing and the building of professional communities requires a deep understanding of language, culture, and the social issues that impact literacy and schooling.

These bibliographies are intended to help make thoughtful choices about expanding our summer invitational institute reading list to locate literacy, teaching, and professional community in their social bedrock.

Resources for Educators of English Language Learners: An Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography was compiled by Judith Rance–Rooney and Lynn Jacobs, two member of NWP's English Language Learners Network. It includes books and articles dealing with students whose home languages span the world. Each annotation summarizes the research and specifies its use for NWP audiences.

An Annotated Bibliography of Resources on Rural Poverty

This bibliography, compiled by Ann Healy–Raymond and Kathy Rowland, focuses on how poverty affects the education of rural students, with a focus on the implications for literacy instruction. The authors' excellent introduction to the bibliography helps situate this research in National Writing Project contexts.

Teacher Inquiry Communities Network Resources Bibliography

This bibliography covers full–length books on teacher inquiry, action research, and ethnographic educational research, with an emphasis on conducting research on writing instruction.

African American Learners Project Annotated Bibliography

Members of the Thinking and Development team of the African American Learners Project compiled this bibliography. In addition to resources specifically on African American learners, the bibliography provides a short list of resources for writing teachers on the achievement gap.

Reading Comprehension and Informational Texts–Annotated Working Bibliography

Growing out of the National Reading Initiative, this resource covers informational texts on reading, grades 4–12. It includes sections on content area literacy; issues of race, class, and gender; and reading and English learners.

Project Outreach 3 Annotated Bibliography

Project Outreach compiled this bibliography of articles and book chapters that have proven to be helpful to local writing project sites as they seek to become more accessible, more relevant, and more diverse.

Bibliography: Whiteness Studies

This bibliography has an introduction that describes the field and contextualizes key sources as they relate to the teaching of writing.

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