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What a Writer Needs
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What a Writer Needs

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The work of Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, Donald Murray, Nancie Atwell, and others has led to a whole generation of writing process workshops where children write, share, revise, and publish their work with confidence. But such progress raises problems, and teachers today have a number of new concerns, mainly: Now that my students are writing, how do I help them improve? "W ...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published November 16th 1992 by Heinemann Educational Books
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  351 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Brian Kelley
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pawlp-library
I am participating in a National Writing Project workshop from late June through mid July. Our first reading assignment has been Ralph Fletcher's What a Writer Needs. My initial reaction is that Fletcher does not necessarily distinguish teacher from student when he discusses writing. True, he provides many examples of work generated by students of all ages. This underscores the immutable reality that we are all writers and should view ourselves as such.

There are few writing exercises to be found
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring. This book is like a writing teacher's muse. It didn't tell me HOW to teach writing, it just gave me insight into what my writers need.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took a different perspective than most; instead of giving it directly, he uses examples of student writing and talk.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Murray provides an alternate way of looking at the teaching of writing. Rather than fill his book with exercises and rules, he lists what he believes to be the essential pieces of each writer's life, touching most frequently and powerfully on the power of agency for a young writer. This is a must-read for anyone interested in writing or the teaching of writing.
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This workshop classic from the early 90s works on two levels. You can read it as a wannabe writer and you can read it as a wannabe-better writing workshop teacher. Fletcher, you see, has credentials not just as a teacher but as a writer as well. Unlike some writers of teaching books, he has also published books of poetry, children's picture books, magazine fiction, and essays. What's more, his own work is sprinkled liberally throughout this book. That, combined with generous portions of student ...more
Corby Lancaster
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lled-402-catalog
Genre- Theorist text book

Reading Level- grades 6-12

Topic and Themes- How to write and a love of writing and making it a valuable experience for children

Curricula Use- Assist students in different ways of looking at the task of writing

Social- Helping people to write and enjoy it

Literary Elements- Full of personal experiences with writing and ways to make writing enjoyable

Text and Pictures- There are a few pictures of samples to study

Summary- "What a Writer Needs" is an excellent book full of idea
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read this before and I love his approach to writing. I especially love how he recognizes that all aspects of writing tie in together and are hard to separate. He allows for most types of writers from over involved to totally uninterested. He makes it possible for any student to not only succeed but also to love the craft. I want to be like this guy when I grow up.
Shannon Amici
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 402-catalog
Reading level-6-12

Genre-writing text book

Topic-becoming a good writer and learning to love it

Social-helps students to enjoy writing

Curricula Use-guide for writing

Literary Elements-different ways to enjoy writing and examples through experiences

Text and pictures-sample writing pictures

Summary-Steps of the writing process and how to become a better writer.
Ann Yanchura
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No one but Ralph can put the complexities of writing into such beautiful, accessible prose. It's hard to believe it, but this is a professional read that I had a hard time putting down. He lives his work - and it shows. Every one of his own examples and every one of the student examples fits perfectly into this book. I'm jealous of Joann Portalupi!
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fletcher provides a great resource for all writers, aspiring and perspiring alike. Some of the chapters offer clear insight and strategies into how to teach writing to student while others do not. However, Fletcher's nonchalant, candid, friendly writing style makes this a pleasure to read. I'd never think of this as a "textbook" because of how enjoyable it was reading it.
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love the way Ralph Fletcher helps us begin reading like a writer. The way he teaches us to be better writers, while also teaching us how to inspire students is unique and exemplary. I love his writing style.
Ryan Miller
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wonderful examination of writing from a right-brain perspective--instead of setting up writing instruction as a step-by-step, fill-in-the-blank process, Fletcher examines large contexts and treats elementary student composition as seriously as the prose/poetry created by adults. Refreshing.
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was the text for a Writer's Workshop that I attended. It is geared towards teachers of writing, mostly those who have younger students. But, Fletcher has a lot of great advice and ideas for writers of all ages.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My favorite part-"It doesn't matter if the writer begins cleverly, ends neatly, organizes smoothly, writes dramatically with voice. It is all meaningless unless the writer can find something interesting and important to say about the subject."
Tania Dymkowski
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book that allows us to see that all kids can write and let them know they can and celebrate when they do!!
Cortney Valyan
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked Fletcher's insight into the different areas of writing, especially when working with kids.
Melanie Smith
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
How to be a mentor to your students and show them how to write the different aspects of a good piece of writing.
Oct 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: edu-related
Apparently has good examples of writing craft/ mini lesson ideas with actual textual references from novels, short stories, poems ,etc.
Jun 26, 2014 added it
In this book, Ralph Fletcher gives us (teachers)a lot to think about in how we structure our writing time during the school day. Loved the book and keep it handy!
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great book for teacher book clubs.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Filled with a lot of useful information. Wishing it was broken down a little differently but overall a really good book that had a lot of information to come away from.
Ms. Carlino
Jul 21, 2011 rated it liked it
This is an important book for writers, though it mostly parrots Don Murray, repeating information writers already know. Nevertheless, these kinds of reminders are sometimes needed.
Annette Steele
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Ralph Fletcher book I read. I read this the summer of 2009. The book opened my eyes to the possibilities of teaching writing.
Brittani Jordan
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pretty good story about this guy's learning to like writing. Get writers to go more in depth when they write. Have them find the deeper meaning in the story. Find the 5 senses of the story.
Tynisha Thompkins
Oct 21, 2009 is currently reading it
Currently reading for ECE Reading/ Language Arts course!! Helps build and create great writers (and readers)!!
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Penny by:
Wow - it's not life-changing like In the Middle, but VERY thought provoking (a teacher book of course:)
Abbie K.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book for teachers who want to help students write better. It's also good for anyone who wants hints on writing better for themselves.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teacher-pd
I give this book the best recommendation possible: I had to stop reading it a few times in order to write.
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every teacher needs this book!
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Ralph Fletcher is a friend of young writers and readers as well as writing teachers. He has written or co-authored many books for writing teachers includng Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Teaching the Qualities of Writing, Lessons for the Writer's Notebook, Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, and Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing. Ralph has worked with teachers a ...more
“When students write from experience, they can breathe those specifics into their writing- dialect, odd smells, precise names of plants- that can animate even the most tired and tedious text.” 5 likes
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