Writer’s-Reader’s Notebook


I received Linda Rief‘s Inside the Writer’s-Reader’s Notebook: A Workshop Essential (Heinemann 2007) the other day. I began reading it almost immediately. Even though Rief, a New Hampshire Middle School Teacher, gears her writing towards an audience of teachers who teach middle school, I still felt this was a must-read book for me since I have a deep interest in notebooks and making them work for kids.

As stated in Chapter 1 of her book, here are the goals of a Writer’s-Reader’s Notebook (herein referred to as W-RN):

  • gives students a place to begin to develop ideas as writers and readers (and a subsequent place for teachers to track that growth).
  • a place where children can observe, think about, and notice the world around them.
  • a consistent structure to respond to literature without attempting to stymie creativity and expression.
  • a place for students to recognize their development as fluent, creative, thoughtful, and imaginative readers and writers.
  • I’m fascinated by the amount of thought Rief put into developing the sample W-RN, which came along with the professional book. I’d love to purchase something like this for my students, but my worry would be there wouldn’t be enough space for them to really write and write and write and live like a writer: they’d need more than one of these/year and that would get expensive. That being said, the W-RN is smartly designed and is broken-up into sections with spaces for lists, vocabulary development and much more.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the opportunity, like Linda Rief, to design our own notebooks for our kids using what we’ve learned through the years to perfect them? This is my writing teacher dream!