National Writing Project

Resource Topics

Teaching Writing - Writing and Literature

Featured Resources

Book Review: Literature Is Back! Using the Best Books for Teaching Readers and Writers Across Genres

December 2008
Lisa Light
Lisa Light, co-director at Jacksonville State University Writing Project, describes Literature Is Back! as a lifeline to primary/intermediate and middle school teachers, with lists of books and practical research-supported ideas for using children's literature to teach key literacy skills and strategies. More ›

Book Review: Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature K–6

December 2008
Lisa Light
Mentor Texts, written by two writing project teacher-consultants, offers explicit ideas, clear models, and inspiration for teaching writing to students in kindergarten through middle school. More ›

Dancing with the Authors: Teaching Sentence Fluency

April 2008
Bev Matulis
By making use of a new "featured sentence structure" each week, Bev Matulis, who is with the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, demonstrates strategies that model and reinforce varied sentence constructions in this chapter from Writing Intention: Prompting Professional Learning through Student Work. More ›

 

Additional Resources

Why I Write: Becky Tuch Explores the World of Lit Mags

October 2011
Becky Tuch is creator of The Review Review, a website that reviews literary magazines, and a founding member of the literary blog Beyond the Margins. Tuch interviews journal editors and offers publishing tips to writers. She shares her thoughts on the evolving role of literary journals in the world of writing. More ›

Book Review: The Write to Read: Response Journals That Increase Comprehension

August 2010
Art Peterson
Lesley Roessing, director of the Coastal Savannah Writing Project in Georgia, has provided readers with thoughtful, sequenced, and creative strategies to direct students toward deeper and more personal responses to literature. More ›

Book Review: Using Picture Books to Teach Writing with the Traits: K-2

June 2010
Janet Bassett
Janet Basset, a teacher-consultant with the Oklahoma State Writing Project, discusses how this book's 150 annotations of new and classic picture books can be used with teacher-tested lesson plans to teach seven writing traits. More ›

Book Review: Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements

May 2010
Tanya N. Baker
Jeffrey Wilhelm, director of the Boise State Writing Project, and Michael Smith bring deep knowledge about teaching and learning directly to the study of literature, focusing on the demands of teaching and connecting them to the needs, passions, and strengths of adolescent students. More ›

The Path Toward Opening Night: One Road to Literacy

October 2009
Ben Bates
Ben Bates, co-director of the Oklahoma State Writing Project, explores the premise that directed script reading and play production provide roads to literacy for his students. More ›

Writing in the 21st Century: Crash! The Currency Crisis in American Culture

April 2009
NCTE President-Elect Carol Jago makes an argument for the continuing centrality of the study of literature as a way of "making a life" in an environment where contemplative thinking is in danger of being overwhelmed by practical communication. More ›

Sherman Alexie in the Classroom

2008
Sherman Alexie in the Classroom, a volume in NCTE's High School Literature Series, examines ways to teach the works of Alexie, widely considered today's premiere Native American writer. Heather Bruce, director of the Montana Writing Project, coauthored the book. More ›

Growing Writers: Considering Talk, Time, Models, and Purpose

April 2008
Renee Webster
In this chapter from Writing Intention: Prompting Professional Learning through Student Work, Renee Webster, who is with the Red Cedar Writing Project, describes how she supplements her first grade writing workshop by using the text of picture books to provide models of techniques—such as "sound words"—that students integrate into their writing. More ›

Leading with Intention

April 2008
Tony Tendero, Cynthia Clingman
In this introductory chapter to Writing Intention: Prompting Professional Learning through Student Work, the authors point out that the book's contributors "intentionally center their teaching on the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing." They provide suggestions for how these materials may be discussed. More ›

They Have to See It to Write It: Visualization and the Reading-Writing Connection

November 2007
Elizabeth Dinkins
Frustrated by her students’ reluctance to write, a seventh-grade teacher shows them how to “see” what they’re reading and draw what they want to write about—and they begin to think like writers. More ›

Reading Researcher Advocates Strengthening Literacy Programs Through Reading-Writing Synergy

Fall 2007
P. David Pearson
Reading researcher P. David Pearson shares his thoughts about how the synergy between reading and writing holds implications for developing literacy in classrooms. More ›

Finding a Voice in a Threaded Discussion Group: Talking about Literature Online

English Journal , September 2007
Cathie English
English explores the use of threaded online discussions in the literature classroom. The online discussions helped high school students develop their thoughts in greater depth than they could in classroom conversations. More ›

Creating Empathetic Connections to Literature

The Quarterly, 2005
Lesley Roessing
Taken aback by her eighth grade students' dry-eyed response to The Diary of Anne Frank, Roessing finds a way to help students convert the them they encounter in multicultural literature into us. More ›

Reading is Nuts

The Voice, 2004
Philip Ireland
In this personal reflection, Philip Ireland weaves together a 15-year-old's current struggle with The Old Man and the Sea and his memory of learning to crack open "The Lottery" in the fifth grade. The lesson he learned from his teacher 20 years ago was that in order to crack the shell of great literature, one must pay attention. More ›

A Geography of Stories: Helping Secondary Students Come to Voice Through Readings, People, and Place

The Quarterly, 2003
Phip Ross
The following excerpt from the newly released National Writing Project/Teachers College Press book articulates how students' awareness of personal identity contributes to a unique sense of voice. Here, Phip Ross elaborates on how the transcription of people's experiences and surroundings can create an immortal and meaningful expression of who we are in relation to our communities. More ›

Book Review: The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers, by Sheridan Blau

The Quarterly, 2003
Fran Claggett
Fran Claggett reviews Sheridan Blau's The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. Blau, she says, "translates what goes on in his own classroom and workshops" into a text that "transcends pedagogy, theory, and research" to give teachers a "journey into the rarefied realm of what teaching literature can be." More ›

Lafayette Reads Ernest Gaines: One Book, One Community

The Voice, January-February 2003
Elizabeth Nehrbass
Nehrbass describes how in the One Book project, the community of Lafayette, Louisiana, read and discussed Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, learning in the process how to talk to each other, listen, and be together. More ›

Literature for my Classroom: What's Out There?

The Voice, March-April 2001
Ed Osterman
Teachers at the New York City Writing Project compiled an annotated bibliography of fiction and nonfiction, with suggested activities and related resources. More ›

How Reading Poetry Will Help You Get a Six-Figure Job

The Quarterly, Winter 2001
Britton Gildersleeve
Gildersleeve uses a help-wanted ad for an information systems technologist to convince her students that the critical reading skills demanded on this job are the same ones practiced in the study of literature. More ›

"The Most" Successful Literature Review Activity

The Voice, September-October 2000
Amy R. Wainwright
Amy R. Wainwright from the Jaxwrite Writing Project in Florida describes a classroom game that helped her students improve their ability to cite texts and quotes and convincingly explain their relevance. More ›

Taking Out the Furniture, or What's Obvious: Lessons from the Literature Institute for Teachers

The Quarterly, Winter 2000
Marjorie Roemer
More ›

You and Me and a Book Makes Three: Students Write Collaborative Book Reviews

The Quarterly, Summer 1999
Bernadette Lambert
Lambert describes a project in which students and parents share and write about the same book. More ›

Annotated Bibliography for Kids and Teachers Who Love Words

The Quarterly, Fall 1997
Christine Facciolli
Facciolli's bibliography cites and describes texts, both fiction and nonfiction, in which words are front and center. More ›

The Library Corner: Literature as Language: Using Kids' Books to Teach About Words

The Quarterly, Fall 1997
Christine Facciolli
Facciolli writes of how teachers can use children's books to enhance letter recognition and familiarity with rhymes, puns, and parts of speech, in addition to other language-based concerns. More ›

Children as Writers in Literature, with Annotated Bibliography

The Quarterly, Spring 1997
Christine Facciolli
Facciolli mines the world of children's literature to uncover numerous examples of children as writers. More ›

Literature in the Classroom, or "Say Not the Struggle Not Availeth"

The Quarterly, Fall 1996
Jane Juska
In a form that relies on entries from her teaching journal, Juska argues for a literature-based curriculum, however painful, and acknowledges that "Why do we have to read this?" is, in fact the most important question about literature. More ›

Is Whole Language Doomed?

The Voice, Summer 1996
Harvey Daniels
Daniels asserts that whole language advocates must answer critics by insisting that whole language does not mean "no standards," that genuine whole language teachers always teach children the so-called "basics," including phonics. More ›

Book Review: Opening Texts: Using Writing to Teach Literature, by Kathleen Andrasick

The Quarterly, Winter 1992
Tom Romano
Reviewing Opening Texts: Using Writing to Teach Literature, Romano asserts that "for teaching students to write critical, literary inquiry, Andrasick's fusion of writing process strategies and reader response theory seems right on the mark." More ›

Gender: Classroom Models for Thinking and Writing About Literature and Film

The Quarterly, Spring 1991
John R. Maitino
Maitino, who focused in his classroom on gender roles, documents student response to pieces by Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir and DH Lawrence and the films Out of Africa and Lethal Weapon 2. More ›

The Facts and Nothing but the Facts: Using Objective Writing in the Teaching of Poetry

The Quarterly, Fall 1990
Richard Gillin
Gillin shows how, in requiring them to focus precisely on what is happening in a piece of literature, he is able to guide students to a more grounded analysis of the literature itself. More ›

OP 07. The Problem-Solving Processes of Writers and Readers

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1989
Betsey Bowen, Bertram C. Bruce, Linda Flower, Margaret Kantz, Ann M. Penrose, Ann S. Rosebery
The authors focus on writing and reading as forms of problem solving that are shaped by communicative purpose, for example problems incurred in writing for a specific audience or reading to interpret text. More ›

Building a Literate Community: Report from an NEH Literature Institute for Teachers

The Quarterly, Summer 1989
Angus Dunstan
A key generalization derived at this institute: in reading and writing, students need to choose texts for themselves and frame writing for themselves to discover ways their personal stories connect with the literature they read. 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 ›

The Role of the Response Journal in Active Reading

The Quarterly, July 1988
Sharon Flitterman-King
The response journal, a way of exploring what happens when we read, "takes reading out of the realm of passive behavior and makes it into a vital activity," and students who practice this approach "soon become engaged and willing learners." More ›

Teachers' Perceptions of the Role of Process in Writing about Literature

The Quarterly, October 1988
Phyllis MacAdam, George E. Newell
The authors make a case for fostering "student ownership of their own experience" when teaching literature, in the same way that many teachers do when they teach writing. More ›

Style Study: One Connection Between Reading and Writing

The Quarterly, July 1987
Rebekah Caplan
Caplan describes how she works with concepts of "telling" and "showing" in writing, as she introduces models from professional writers and asks students to put these concepts to work as they develop their own styles. 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 ›

Responsive Writing: Connecting Literature and Composition

The Quarterly, March 1986
Helen C. Lodge
Lodge describes several kinds of responsive writing as means of connecting literature and composition, among them dialogue writing, letter writing, imitation, and personal definition. More ›

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