Wednesday, July 3, 2013

writing with a lowercase w

Last summer, I had the absolute privilege of not only hearing Ralph Fletcher give his keynote talk at the Minnesota Reading Association's annual conference, but of sitting across from him at dinner that evening. If you aren't familiar with his work, Ralph Fletcher is an amazing writer, writing picturebooks and chapter books for young children, books for young writers, and books about teaching writing. When I was first teaching, I came across his books for teachers and found them inspiring and so practical. I use his books in my university courses now, and I was pretty geeked out to get to meet him.

At the table at dinner, we had a delightful conversation that spanned many topics - both professional and personal. At one point, we circled back to writing. We were talking about the troubling trend that has left little time in schools for writing. Writing with a lowercase w. The playful, creative, engaging writing that motivates students.Writing to learn. Writing that isn't the 4th grade animal report or the 5 paragraph essay.

His book How Writer's Work is very helpful in thinking about the conditions that nurture writing. Writing is not a prescribed process, one-size-fits-all, and this text can be really helpful in thinking about planning for writing in your classroom that support interesting, motivated writing from students. If you're thinking about revamping the writing in your classroom for next year, check it out!

Ralph Fletcher blogs regularly at The Writer's Desk and he tweets too. Keep up with his thoughts there!

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