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The Art of Teaching Writing

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  930 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
When Lucy Calkins wrote the first edition of The Art of Teaching Writing, the writing workshop was a fledgling idea, piloted by a few brave innovators. Now, as she brings us this new edition, the writing workshop is at the foundation of language arts education throughout the English-speaking world. This new edition, then, could easily have been a restatement, in grander, m ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published March 7th 1994 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published November 21st 1985)
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So here's the thing: Lucy (a fellow Williams grad) is awesome, she's obviously a great, groundbreaking educator.

The problem? She, like so many of her ilk, live in this hippy lala dreamland where schools are run like amazing little thought factories and principals are happy when you report that your students make growth because they say that they are authors. And when children are exposed in their homes to so many new and different adventures that their imaginations work overtime and their writi
Mar 08, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How could I not give this book 5 stars when it's based on Lucy Calkins research and expertise? All kidding aside, this is an EXCELLENT reference book for teachers of reading in elementary or middle grades. If you have never had the privilege to hear Lucy speak or to be trained by her amazing Teacher's College staff, this book is the next best thing. It does a great job of explaining the WHY behind the reading workshop model and HOW to set it up in your classroom. From there, she shows you how to ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Cherylann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctoral-reading
Published in 1986, Calkins' text on writing/writers workshop became a seminal text for teachers. And then almost 10 years ago, NCLB was enacted, and writers workshop became a quaint teaching strategy that had no relevance in the world of high stakes testing. IMHO Calkins and Atwell should be required reading for all preservice teachers. Calkins' text is just as fresh 25 years after its original publication as it was when it was first published. Reading The Art of Teaching Writing, I was reminded ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I read this while I was in high school and my parents were taking teaching credentialing classes. Until I read this book, I hated writing. After I read it, I filled notebook after notebook with writing and learned to love school essays. Yes, it is a book for teachers, but Calkins made me feel how exciting writing can be.
Aug 29, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
This book has very sound philosophy in teaching writing and teaching in general, but really did not provide me with enough practical stuff that I could implement in my classroom right away. I thought it was mostly discussion of what should be done and not enough of here's how you do it. That's really what I look for in education books.
This is a good introduction to how to teach writing. A lot of theory behind the practice is presented. This is not as helpful in showing real classroom examples of writing instruction.
Savannah Weaver
Sep 15, 2012 Savannah Weaver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took me three months to read it, but I finally did. The last chapter made me cry. How often can you say that of a textbook? I love you Lucy!
Dec 28, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a college class, and I learned so much! It was fun to read, but also very educational. I rented my copy, but I'm going to buy one later to use in my classroom as a constant reference to all things writing-instruction.
Dec 28, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a total game changer.
Dec 14, 2010 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading Lucy's very first book when I first started teaching. She taught me how to teach writing to children. Her stragegies became ingrained in me. They made a difference in my teaching, and in my students' writing across the curriculum. This new edition has the depth and breadth of the variety of writing children can do across the curriculum. Children think as they read, and can record their thinking in writing. They use prior knowledge, and begin to construct knowledge in their wri ...more
Dorrie Sutliffe
Jan 25, 2014 Dorrie Sutliffe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
Wish I had read this book YEARS ago! Although this book was written well after I graduated from college, I can't help feeling cheated of the "best practices" that this book advocates for in our schools. That is why, as professionals, if we fail to continuously learn and keep abreast of the latest that research has to offer, then we fail as educators. I have been reading and trying to follow the practices of the many excellent educators from Teacher's College, but this book seems to be at the fou ...more
May 21, 2011 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
I gave this 5 stars because of the amount I can see myself using it. What an amazing book about reading and what it is and should be for kids. Going into student teaching in the fall I feel better equipped to converse with my soon to be second graders about books, what they have to offer, what they can help us to see and learn, how to explore them and so much more. On tap next is her book The Art of Teaching Writing which I am sure will offer equally as much insight. I would recommend this to an ...more
Margaret Grabowski
Jul 05, 2012 Margaret Grabowski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I'm finally beginning to understand what reading-writing connections really are! Lucy Calkins has inspired me to reinvision my classroom goals and curriculum and to integrate a lot more writing into my Reading Workshop this year. The rush of idealism I'm feeling now has inspired me to go back and finish "The Art of Teaching Reading."
Sheila Callahan
I made it to page 440 of The Art of Teaching Writing. The only reason I didn't finish is because the library needed their edition back. Some day I hope to get through the last 100 pages. Lucy Calkins' work is clearly ground-breaking. Some day I'd like to own this text, not to mention put what she's written to work in my classroom. I highly recommend this to anyone who teaches *any* subject.
Dec 21, 2008 Jayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best single source for assisting teachers and parents as they guide children in the wring process. The suggestions are practical and exemplary. I give a copy of this book to all of my student teachers.
Apr 15, 2009 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went through 4 highlighters. Very informative. Ironically, there were many errors in spelling and grammar. Oh well, that speaks more to the editing than it does to the author. It's an excellent books for any teacher who teaches reading at any level.
Apr 14, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational
This book is what I based my Language Arts/Writing program on. Lucy Calkins has a great way of writing so that the book doesn't seem like a textbook. She has innovative ideas that reach the new form of teaching and assessment through reaching each child's needs and adapting to them.
Jul 03, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an awesome explanation of readers/writers workshops in elementary school! Suggestions for implementation, descriptions of real classrooms, and breaking down what workshop looks like in primary grades. Definitely going to buy myself a copy of this one!
Alyson Whatcott
Jul 12, 2008 Alyson Whatcott rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about teaching writing. It is long but very readable and inspiring. It is very theoretical--so a good one to read in the summer, when it isn't so obvious that your teaching doesn't match up to the ideal (!)
Barri Bumgarner
Jun 11, 2013 Barri Bumgarner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for ALL teachers who expect their students to matter the content area. Language arts teachers are not the only ones who should be responsible for students being able to read across the content areas!
Sep 22, 2011 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Appreciate the honest thoughts of Lucy Calkins in terms of her own experience wrt teaching writing. She provides insights on the developmental stages of children's writing which is really helpful to educators.
Aug 25, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The primary text for my RDG 3320 Integrating Reading and Writing class. I used it when I taught the class a year ago and it's a dense but thoroughly useful text that covers strategies across grade levels and content areas. A MUST have in the professional library of ANY educator!
Massanutten Regional Library
Dawn, North River patron, August 2016, 4 stars:

Perfect book for anyone working on creative writing! This book will help you deepen your understanding of the writing process itself! Lots of examples and resources!
Sep 04, 2012 Sobarow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little wordy at times...but well worth the read! Fantastic background and rationale for a workshop approach! Must read for reading teachers!
Aug 01, 2010 Colleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucy Calkins wrote the Bible of teaching writing. Now that I've been teaching writer's workshop for a few months, I can see how her ideas grew from the way young children learn.
Dec 27, 2011 J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Dated but nonetheless relevant. Her passion for teaching is evident, but the book id pricey. Borrow it, dont buy it.
Aug 29, 2008 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching-books
I started this on 08/27, but it is so good already! Great ideas that apply immediately to the classroom.
Apr 22, 2008 Czarina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Czarina by: My husband
Shelves: education
This book is outstanding. It thoroughly explains how a child learns to read and what a good teacher needs to do to help their child learn to read.
Diana Pettis
Sep 15, 2014 Diana Pettis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for all teachers of writing. I now want to read Writing Pathways. Do any of my teaching friends have a copy?
Jul 26, 2012 Missy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVE IT! Practical and full of wonderful ideas to teach writing. Every teacher should have this on their shelf.
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  • Craft Lessons
  • Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding
  • In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
  • Growing Readers: Units of Study in the Primary Classroom
  • Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop
  • What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs
  • Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching, Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy
  • Writing about Reading: From Book Talk to Literary Essays, Grades 3-8
  • Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, [Book, CD & DVD]
  • Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles
  • Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades
  • How's It Going?: A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers
  • The Writing Workshop: Working Through the Hard Parts (and They're All Hard Parts)
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers
  • Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need to Teach Reading Well

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