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Monday, July 12, 2010

engaging young writers, written by Matt Glover. Heinemann, 2009. $25.99 preschool and grade one teachers

"The topic of this book is an important one. Throughout its pages, Matt helps teachers think very specifically about finding ways to help young children gravitate toward writing, exploring a variety of what he calls entry points for children into writing. As he explains these different entry points, it's clear that Matt is interested in helping children find motivation for writing, but he is equally interested in practices that help children believe they are capable as writers." (Katie Wood Ray, in the Foreword)

I still find it interesting to read books by teachers who are writing about what is happening in their own classrooms. The books are so personal, and often very practical. In this book, Matt Glover shares stories from his classroom. He knows that children come to school wanting to write, but apprehensive about their abilities. In an attempt to get all young writers engaged in the process he presents a range of entry points for them.

He wants his students to pick up their pencils and share their remarkable ideas and thinking. By providing different starting places, he helps other teachers in the early years to teach to the child's needs and abilities. He sets out a number of ways to encourage them through conversations and units of study, through reading aloud and by offering dramatic play opportunities, by exploring and sharing their own personal experiences, and by using nonfiction writing to give them a chance to share their deepest concerns and interests.

Real classroom experiences and student samples help his readers see that these methods work, and his easy writing style provides a plan for teachers who want their students to discover the writer that is hiding inside, just waiting to break out!

I love his final thought:

"In our journey with young writers, I hope that students come to believe that their teachers care about fostering energy and passion for writing as much as how well children write. Fortunately, thoughtful teachers who think carefully about how they invite children to enter into writing will ensure their students' first steps as writers, and the ones that follow, will lead to children who have images of themselves as powerful authors."

Isn't that we want for all children?

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