If you want to learn more about teaching writing, you’ll love this list!
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Teaching writing is one of the hardest things to do well, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you will do as a teacher or parent!
As a classroom teacher, I taught writing within the structure of the writing workshop. After teaching for eight years, receiving my M.Ed., and now teaching my own kids to write, I firmly believe that learning within the writing workshop is the best way for our kids to become thoughtful, creative, and competent writers.
My current project is to write an ebook that will teach you how to make the writing workshop work for your classroom or homeschool – whether you teacher kindergartners or eighth graders.
As I’m writing my ebook, I’m studying the best books about teaching writing. Today I’m sharing my favorites!
Yes, that’s my bookshelf. Studying how to teach writing has brought back so many memories (and regrets!) from my days in the classroom – as well as a determination to teach my own kids to love writing. I can’t wait to share my handbook with you later this summer!
For now, here are some excellent books you can dive into.
Writing Essentials, by Regie Routman
This book (published in 2004) is a goodie from my teaching days. It’s jam-packed with helpful, practical information for teachers of grades K-6. If you have a question about teaching writing, she will probably answer it in this book. Regie Routman never disappoints!
Talking, Drawing, Writing, by Martha Horn and Maryellen Giacobbe
If you teach preschool or kindergarten, you need this book. I love how these authors take children where they are and lead them into the world of writing through drawing. The best part of this book is that it’s a collection of easy-to-follow lessons.
Already Ready, by Katie Wood Ray & Matt Glover
Here’s another gem for teachers of preschool and kindergarten. Learn how to help our littlest writers make books right from the start. I’ve been making books with my four-year-old based on what I’ve learned in this book. We’re both having so much fun!
In the Middle, by Nancie Atwell
As I was doing my research, I could have ordered an earlier edition of this book from the library. But I sprung for the newest edition, and I wasn’t disappointed! Both inspiring and practical, Nancie Atwell is the author to read if you teach reading or writing to grades 4-8. If I wasn’t parenting six kiddos, I’d read this book from cover to cover just because.
Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook, by Aimee Buckner
This little treasure is a must-have if you teach students in grades 3-8. Learn how to make the writing notebook an integral part of your writing program. You’ll love the author’s practical, realistic writing style.
…And with a Light Touch, by Carol Avery
My only complaint about this book is that it’s the only one Avery has published! If you teach first grade, you must go out and buy this book today. It will change your teaching.
In the Company of Children, by Joanne Hindley
This book is a little dated (1996), but it’s a great read and a very helpful guide for both the reading and writing workshop.
Writing through Childhood:Rethinking Process through Product, by Shelley Harwayne
Here’s another book I’d read cover to cover if not for the six treasures that take up most of my time. It’s an excellent resource to help you bring your students through the writing process. I especially like the chapter about working with our youngest writers. While anyone who cares about teaching would enjoy and learn from this book, it’s written for experienced writing teachers.
How’s it Going? by Carl Anderson
This book was my main resource as I completed one of my final inquiry projects for my master’s degree. Hands down, it is the most practical guide you will ever find about conferring with student writers. It’s one of the few books I think every writing teacher should own. (Grades 1-8)
One to One: The Art of Conferring with young Writers, by Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman, and Zoe White
If you’re looking for a book about conferencing that is tailored for primary grade teachers, this is it. The best part is the conference transcripts in the back of the book. So useful!
This book acknowledges the truth – that teaching within the writing workshop is both hard and incredibly rewarding. I recommend this book for writing workshop teachers (grades 1-8) who are looking for help and encouragement. Not for beginners.
The Art of Teaching Writing, by Lucy Calkins
As a young teacher I spent one summer poring over this book. My copy is heavily marked up with notes in almost every margin. If you want to get excited about teaching writing (and you have a lot of time), this is the book for you. While I’m a big fan of Lucy Calkins, I wish the book were less wordy and more concise. If you’re short on time and looking for a more practical resource, this classic isn’t for you. Go for Writing Essentials instead.
No More “I’m Done!” by Jennifer Jacobson
This book is an immensely practical and enjoyable read for primary grade teachers. Which of us isn’t trying to get our students to be more independent? With the help of this book, you’ll get them there. I can’t recommend it enough!
Engaging Young Writers, by Matt Glover
This book is for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade teachers who feel that some of their students just can’t write. Engaging Young Writers will help you find the “entry point” for every student so that they all experience writing success.
The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing, by Judy Davis & Sharon Hil
If you’re looking for a helpful resource without the extra anecdotes and theory, this is the book for you. It’s filled with specific how-to details for writing teachers of grades 3-8.
Projecting Possibilities for Writers, by Matt Glover & Alice Berry
This is for the experienced writing workshop teacher who is ready to write his or her own units of study. I searched far and wide for a book to help me with this, and I found this book to be the most help. (A bonus: it’s mercifully short!) I also have Katie Wood Ray’s hefty book, Study Driven, about the same topic. It’s excellent, but I’ve found Projecting Possibilities for Writers to be easier to use.
Wondrous Words, by Katie Wood Ray
If you’re like me and love theoretical books, this is one to own. In this beautiful book, Katie Wood Ray explains how students learn to write from their reading. If you’re looking for a practical guide to teaching writing, skip this one. Teachers – save this one for summer break. You’ll want to have time to savor it.
Need a resource to put all this information into one easy-to-use guide? We’ve got one!
Check out our guide for teaching writing
Writing Workshop Guide K-8
Whether you’re new to the Writing Workshop or an experienced workshop teacher, you’ll love this giant handbook for teaching writing in grades K-8. In addition to this helpful guide, you’ll also receive over 150 pages of printable resources!