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Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing
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Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  498 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Please join us in congratulating Penny Kittle for her 2009 NCTE Britton Award for Write Beside Them

"This book is about teaching writing and the gritty particulars of teaching adolescents. But it is also the planning, the thinking, the writing, the journey: all I've been putting into my teaching for the last two decades. This is the book I wanted when I was first given nint
Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 9th 2008 by Heinemann
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Jun 09, 2008 Newengland rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English teachers; fans of writing
Writer's Workshop. The term has almost become cliché among English teachers, and it means very different things to different educators. For a new take on this now-old warhorse (though Nancie Atwell shall be forever young in our minds!), teachers should revisit the writer's workshop as Penny Kittle runs it in her New Hampshire classroom.

In fact, this book will appeal to teachers across a wide spectrum: those who have never tried writer's workshop for a myriad of reasons, those who sampled the wa
Jessica Klap
8 hours was all I needed. Love it. Love that my professor assigned it. Love that I can use it this fall.
Gary Anderson
Here are my big take-aways from Write Beside Them:

1. Play is a very important component in learning how to write. (p. 37) (I don't need many excuses to play around with writing in class, but it's good to have reminders that it's not just goofing off.)
2. Making a list is a good way to get unstuck or a solid basis for a prewriting activity. (p. 137) Outlines can seem daunting or overly formal, but a list -- anybody can do a list. It's not as scary-sounding as an outline, but it can serve many of t
The Reading Countess
Penny Kittle's book, Write Beside Them, resonated with me from page one. Her writing, her thinking about the art of teaching writing (well) caused me to read, stop and ponder, read...Well, you get the picture. And this, from a teacher who has taught many grades but only as high as the seventh (and for one brief year, at that). And that's the beauty of Write Beside Them. Kittle's thinking is applicable to ALL teachers of writing.

At times affirming and at times instructive, Kittle reminds me why
I wanted to read this book because I thought I could borrow some cool ideas for my classroom. What I didn't expect was that I am about to sit down and redesign my classroom to more effectively incorporate reading and writing. I have high hopes for next year!
I took a long time to finish this book because I kept stopping to write down ideas and play with ways these suggestions might work in a fifth grade class. When I finished Book Love by the same author, I could not stop recommending it to people. I was thrilled that I discovered it. This book did not have that same "Eureka" quality for me, but it gave me a lot to consider, which is always valuable.

I wasn't sure I was sold on the idea of organizing a writing class by genre until I got to the chapte
Christopher Wallace
Kittle's book is above average for a couple of reasons. Writing, and especially teaching writing can be a tenuous project, at best sometimes. But she provides numerous series of what I will call "structure" that any teacher willing to change can easily replicate. Not only that, but this structure can easily be modified to make it that teacher's own.

Keeping 30 students on any kind of a similar path throughout the course of months, is nearly impossible. Grading "writing" can not only be overwhelmi
This book REALLY helped me remember why I wanted to become a teacher - for me, this book got me back to the roots of my teaching philosophy. Just switching some gears in tutoring after reading this book showed a spark in my students. I am actually excited to start school!
I enjoyed this book, and it's filled with great ideas that I would like to implement. However, Kittle teaches a writing course in block scheduling, and I teach English in 40 minutes. It would be very hard for me to do everything she does, but I could pick and choose.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I appreciate the heartfelt approach to teaching writing -- Kittle reminds us that students must be the center of instruction.
More than even her companion volume Book Love, Kittle walks teachers through process. This time it is how to create a class based on writing, and she begins first with her comprehensive (but adaptable) unit-planning. She includes numerous student samples and detailed explanations of tools such as writer's notebooks and workshops as well as how to teach mechanics and assess students. Kittle's book is an enormous resource for writing teachers and content teachers who seek to diversify their instru ...more
Krisanne Stewart
love this book! Can't wait to integrate her ideas in my classroom!

I just finished this book, and cannot find the words to express my feelings. I cried like a big fat baby when I read her last few pages. (And this is a NON Fiction TEACHER INSTRUCTION BOOK!!!)

If you are wondering how to incorporate writing into your classroom..stop reading right now and order this book. If you are unsatisfied with the quality of writing in your classroom, stop reading right NOW and go order this book. Penny Kittle
Tom Romano is my professional father, Nancie Atwell my grandmother. Carol Jago my favourite aunt. Tom Newkirk and Donald Murray, uncles. Yet when I saw Write Beside Them many years ago, I was cranky--cranky that I couldn't make writing and reading workshop thrive in my high school classroom, even though I knew it was sound pedagogy.

Yet, turns out my crankiness was keeping me from meeting my professional big sister, Penny Kittle. This text, along with her recent publication, Book Love, are wonder
I have just finished this book and my eyes are pooled with tears. You can't say that about most professional development books, but this book ended with a story of how powerful words are, and how important our work as teachers of writing is. Oh-so-much more than a "how to" book, every ELA/writing teacher would benefit greatly from reading this book.

What shines through is Kittle's love for her students and her firm belief that everyone IS a writer and can become a better one through being in her
Penny Kittle is a rock star, and she proves it, yet again, with this amazing book. I have read so many professional development books on developing various skills with students in an English classroom, but seriously, no one does it better than this woman. She's honest, down-to-earth and incredibly passionate and smart about her teaching. And she loves kids! Her love for her content and her classroom is infused throughout her details, stories, and student examples that I find so helpful and endea ...more
After seeing Dr. Grierson's comment on this book, I ordered it for the second semester writing program I was creating. It gave me the courage to implement the important idea of writing WITH my students. IT has turned my focus to writing as a process instead of a product and the results have been amazing. I have students who come back from the five minute break because they WANT to write. We are having a blast as a class writing together. We are reading texts with the eyes of a writer.

PK provides
I mined this book for both inspiration and solid teaching advice. It comes with a DVD full of classroom best practices and a wealth of resources. I couldn't give 5 stars, however, because I am struggling to adapt my teaching context to this example writing class. I teach 150 9th graders in an English I course. I want to have a rich writing course, but I am short on time and buried under required texts and mandatory tests. I appreciate Penny Kittle and would love to continue to learn from her, I ...more
Only half-way through and I already love this book. Kittle distills the best of writing-workshop theorists and practitioners, adds her own perspective, and packages the combined sophistication so that English teachers can feel comfortable juggling writers workshop. I predict that this will do for High School teachers what Nancie Atwell has done for middle school professionals.

To be clear: Write Beside Them isn't a substitute for Atwell, Calkins, Routmann, the Dons, the Boomers, and all the rest
Penny has many wonderful suggestions in this book that I am looking forward to trying in my class this year. Again, it takes time and patience to foster good writing habits. Many kids claim they "hate" writing...but when a teacher takes the time to sit and listen to what kids THINK... And then say..."yes! Now write that." The teacher then walks away, and smiles when she/he looks back to see the pencil flying!
Penny Kittle is an Education Goddess, but her voice is honest and compassionate. She writes with her students and annotates their drafts instead of immediately giving grades. Her reasoning: writers need more feedback and coaching than evaluation or they will stop taking risks. I love her scathing indictment of the evil five paragraph essay, "Writing is flexible; for every short story and idea there are many forms that might lend it light. Formulas (like the five-paragrah essay) limit the develop ...more
Jeff Stauter
Good mentors practice what they preach. The best reading teachers read often, the best music teachers play inside and outside of the classroom, the best history teachers consume all they can about the past. So if we're going to be good writing teachers then we need to write and our kids need to see us doing it. In this book Penny Kittle invites you into her classroom and her innermost struggles as a teacher AND a writer. She offers some fantastic classroom ideas that you can start implementing t ...more
Christina Grande
Kittle provides a great introduction to the idea of Writer's Workshop. While most books about Writer's Workshop are written for the elementary or middle school teacher, Kittle provides a great example of how to run a Writer's Workshop on the secondary level. She is very inspiring, and even provides a DVD with sample student texts and sample organizational tools for grading different types of writing. I gave this text four stars rather than five stars because I don't think that Kittle leaves any ...more
Man was my highlighter busy while reading this book. There was so much great takeaway that I literally want to sit down and re-work my entire writer's workshop for the upcoming school year.

Even though I teach middle school and not high school, Kittle has so many great ideas and structures for her writing class that finding a way to adapt them to younger grades should be fairly straightforward for me.

I have always known how important it is to write with students, but my lack of organization alwa
Write Beside Them is a book by Penny Kittle about teaching writing in the classroom. She talks about how to do a writer’s workshop, how to teach the steps of writing, and includes a lot of awesome student samples. There’s also a DVD that comes with it that actually shows her in her classroom.

Rating: 5/5

This is a really great book if you want to teach writing. Kittle offers a great breakdown of how to teach the writing process and what it will look like. The DVD is great, and I really enjoyed wat
The message of Write Beside Them is both inspiring and practical. I foresee re-reading this wonderful book many times in the years to come. As I read Kittle's experiences and insights, I remember what I love about teaching high school English, and I feel a renewed sense of commitment to use my time with my students in the best possible ways to help them become all that they can be. The details of curriculum and pedagogy are amazing--I'd like to incorporate her every suggestion immediately; howev ...more
Rosalinda Avila-vega
Loved this book. Penny provides a comprehensive plan that will make your classroom and students successful in their craft of writing. Her thought process along with student samples allows you to see what she does when she plans for her students. Will implement with my students this fall.
Paul  Hankins
Pulled this one from the downstairs library this weekend to look over Penny's work again, going back over the notes I had made the first time I read this book. Still finding ideas within the ideas presented here.

Penny's book/resource here is like a love letter to the classroom teacher who wants to bring more writing. . .more reading into their classroom.

Pulling from her own mentoring by Donald Murray and Donald Graves, what I like about Penny's work is her ability to draw from her sources and ta
Kelly Lutes
If only I could give it more stars. By far, the most inspirational trade book I've read in years. Thank you, Penny Kittle, for inspiring me to return to what I know works in the classroom and to what drives my teaching--the passion for writing craft. Now, time to rehearse and revise my class curriculum.
This book has gone to the top of my list of books that I will refer to again and again. While the focus is on high school writing, there is so much that I have already drawn on fore my middle school classes and I look forward to more fully implementing the things that I've learned next year in my high school classes. The book comes with a DVD that I have yet to dive into, but plan to soon. I read this book with pen in hand and writer's notebook within reach. Of the many things that I am taking a ...more
I wanted to read more about the writing workshop. I waded through books and wondered which to choose, finally delving into this one. It's incredible. An honest look into the writing workshop with the how-to right alongside!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
  • Write Like This
  • Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop
  • Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literacy Principles Worth Fighting for
  • Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be
  • Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers
  • The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession
  • Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
  • Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning
  • In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide from the Authors of Craft Lessons
  • So What Do They Really Know?: Assessment That Informs Teaching and Learning
  • Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements: How to Teach What Really Matters About Character, Setting, Point of View, and Theme
Penny Kittle teaches seniors at Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire. She is also the K-12 literacy coach for the Conway schools and directs the new teacher mentoring program. She is the author of Book Love (2013), Write Beside Them (2008), The Greatest Catch: a life in teaching (2005), and Public Teaching: one kid at a time (2003); she co-authored Inside Writing (2005) with Donald G ...more
More about Penny Kittle...
Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers The Greatest Catch: A Life in Teaching Public Teaching: One Kid at a Time Children Want to Write: Donald Graves and the Revolution in Children's Writing My Quick Writes: For Inside Writing

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