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The Big Book of Details: A Review & Giveaway

You need to elaborate.  

Add details. 

Say more about this.

Be specific.

How many times have you told your students these things?  If you are like most of the writing teachers I know, adding details is the curse of your writing workshop.  It is so hard to get students to add details.  If you are a writer yourself, you understand.  Choosing which details to include and which to leave out is tricky work for a writer.  Conveying those details to your reader in a way which adds meaning and beauty to your writing is even trickier.  Yep, details are tricky business.

BBofD cover

Enter Rozlyn Linder’s The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, coming from Heinemann this March. Linder starts with the premise that first we must uncover a writer’s intention.  Are you trying to describe someone or something?  Are you trying to show action?  Are you trying to convince?  To inform?  Once you are clear about your intention as a writer, Linder shows you all the possibilities available to you.  For example, let’s say your students are trying to describe a story character. Opening to Chapter Two: Details that Describe, I see ten different craft moves I might teach:

  • State the Obvious
  • Just Like That
  • Action Clues
  • Right in the Middle
  • Zoom In
  • Repeaters
  • Pop Culture References
  • Personify It
  • Set It Up
  • Thought Bubbles

For each of these moves, Linder shows how she would introduce this move to students (anchor chart examples included) and provides some guided practice exercises to try out each move.  Amazing.

Linder describes how she combed through hundreds of mentor texts, looking for all the ways authors use details.  Then she took all of her snippets and clippings and notes, and began to categorize them.  She refers to this as her “Wall of Crazy.”  The result?  This brilliant book.

The Big Book of Details will change the way you teach and the way you write.  It is as if Linder has pulled the magician’s cape off the box holding the secret of how to write with detail.  As you comb through this big book, you will find yourself nodding your head and scribbling in your writer’s notebook.  This book – it is a game changer.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate.  Many thanks to Heinemann Publishing for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate, please leave a comment about this post by Saturday, March 5th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Monday, March 7th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Heinemann Publishing will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – (Book’s Title). Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

The random number was 45.  The winner of the giveaway is Heidi Clarke who wrote:

This sounds like a wonderful resource! Students need to see specific examples of what it means to make their writing stong in the Trait of Ideas, which comes from adding detail in different ways for different pieces.

Congratulations, Heidi!

 

Dana Murphy View All

Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer

174 thoughts on “The Big Book of Details: A Review & Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. This book reminds me of The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo, but for adding detail to writing. It would be so helpful to have a copy in our building!

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  2. I would LOVE this have this book for my students. They would all benefit, but I have a budding want-to-be writer that I would like more help grooming. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

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  3. I don’t think I’ve said “Please elaborate!” more in my teaching life than this year. What a perfect resource–thanks for sharing!

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  4. So excited to hear about this book! Her Chart Sense books have been valuable resources for my first year coaching. I am sure this one will be filled with just as many post-its.

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  5. I have already purchased this book, but another copy to donate to my ELA department at school would be great. This book seems to be filled with great ideas to help students with their writing. Thank you for the opportunity!

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  6. I NEED this book! I am constantly saying, “Tell me more.” I’m sure this book will give me some ideas for explicit instruction. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. This book will be a definite addition to my professional library, but one that lives on my desk as I work with teachers, not one of those that sit on my shelf!

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  8. This book would be a great kick-off for September with my teachers! I love that they play to the phrases we always go to but get little results from and teach us new ways to approach the subject!

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  9. Dana, The Big Book of Details, sounds like a professional book that will inform our writing practices and entice our students to write like a writer. Elaboration is a skillful art. Thank you for this contest.

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this title! I love your analogy about the magician’s cape. I’m always looking for innovative ways to help students understand the intentionality behind authors’ words. This seems like the perfect resource!

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  11. Looks like a wonderful resource! As a first year teacher there is always so many resources being recommended but you left a wonderful review and this resource sounds like it can fit any teacher’s needs. We all need to improve as writers, starting with content and details!

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  12. I am keeping my fingers crossed! As an Instructional Coach, I have been focusing on learning about and implementing the minilesson with teaching this year! This would be a great resource!

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  13. With the move to Writers Workshop/Units of Study, this would be an incredible addition to our toolbox and really help us “up” the level of our writers. Thank you for the recommendation.

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  14. I’m a first year instructional coach in a school where we are rolling out the new Lucy Units of Study. This would be an amazing resource to help all my teachers improve their craft (and mine as well)! From how far down I had to scroll; the competition is stiff!

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  15. I really want this book. I saw it this weekend at the South Carolina Reading Conference. The organization of this book is fantastic.

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  16. Whaaattt??!! This book is to writing instruction as Serravallo’s Reading Strategies book is to reading instruction. I’m so excited to get my hands on a copy!

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  17. I have to have this book! Add more details is the curse of writing workshop because so many students don’t understand what that means. Strategies on elaboration is what they need!

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  18. I’m not in the running for the giveaway, but felt compelled to leave a comment!

    Where has this book been all of my teaching life? So glad it’s here now! It sounds incredible since elaboration is one of those things that seems to be something I teach again and again and again when I confer with writers (across genres).

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  19. Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to share this book with teachers! We are always looking for new moves to support students in elaborating and developing ideas with details. Can’t wait to check out this book!

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  20. When I ask my students (self-contained K-2 special ed) to describe the picture they have drawn they can give me wonderful details about what is happening. However, moving these thoughts from their oral narration to a written sentence if very difficult. This book sounds like it may have some great ideas to help me more effectively teach them! Thanks in advance!

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  21. The book sounds amazing! She categorized clever ways to add detail which will enlighten and empower student writing. What a brilliant idea! I would love to win the book, however
    will purchase it also for our school’s professional library.

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  22. Sounds like what I am looking for. I teach kindergarten and we are working on elaboration as a class goal starting this week . This book sounds like a just right book for me.

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  23. I believe this book was written for me! I am ALWAYS asking students to elaborate/add details/be specific! I’m glad Dana Murphy tackled the need and wrote a resource to address this. Thanks!

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  24. I am excited to hear about this book. I’m an elementary literacy coach, and we are focusing on goal-setting with our students. We are setting class goals, and individual student goals. Many of the teachers I am working with are including elaboration as one of their goals. This would be a fabulous resource!!!

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  25. This is an exciting giveaway!! I’m putting a link to this article in my weekly staff news, hopefully folks will enter to win! And even if they don’t, I’ll buy the book for those who are interested! 🙂

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  26. This book sounds perfect!!! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of it to use with my 5th graders. This is exactly what they need and I’m always grateful for the book recommendations your website provides ~ thank you!!!

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  27. I love Dr. Linder’s book of anchor charts and accompanying lesson ideas: full of practical, classroom “ready” tools. I’m looking forward to this next book of hers!

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  28. I am so excited about this book. I’m in my 35th year as an educator, and teaching writing is a passion. For more and more students, at a time when good writing skills are essential, writing is a weakness. I’m constantly looking for ways to help students, and the more tools I have at my disposal, the more students I can help.

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  29. What a great resource. As a 5th grade teacher, I am constantly having my students work on elaboration and adding more detail. Thank you Roz Linder for a book that promises to be helpful.

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  30. I would love to have another resource to help my students understand the writing process and make it easier for them to organize their thoughts.

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  31. It’s very hard to walk kids through clearly how to add details step by step. I know “juicy details” can not be gained by just using the 5 senses or asking questions, so I’m eager to learn more and better ways of teaching it. I appreciate your sharing this and the opportunity!

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  32. Thank you for being the voice for writers and their continual struggle to elaborate or add details! I was fortunate to observe 3 mini lessons last week and the teaching point was about adding details. This really is a challenge for all writers, no matter the age !

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  33. It’s really hard to walk kids through clearly how to add details step by step. I know “juicy details” can not be gained by just using the 5 senses or asking questions, so I’m eager to learn more and better ways of teaching it. I appreciate your sharing this and the opportunity!

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  34. I would love to be considered for this book. My email address is blpippin@comcast.net. This book would be invaluable in my small group instruction. I am a special education teacher, and support students in class with their writing in class. So all I do is conferring with writers about their writing. This tool would be a great addition to my toolbox!

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  35. This would be a fabulous addition to my 8yh grade writing class. Students struggle yo add details and bring their writing to life. I’d love a copy of this!!

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  36. Roz was at Wisconsin State Reading Association’s annual conference in February. We were so fortunate to have her visit our state! I’d love to win this book and share it with my colleagues.

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  37. This book looks like a truly helpful resource. I like how it’s organized according to what the writer’s purpose is, and also that it includes ideas for anchor charts.

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  38. Wow! We need this book. I remember hearing Lucy Calkins say that it is not enough to say to writers “add details.” This book looks like it would really help demystify that suggestion. Hope I win it!

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  39. So true! Students often need to elaborate, but we can’t just tell them, “Add more details.” We have to help them see which/what kind of details to choose to bring their writing to life. Eager to see what Roz Linder has to say.

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  40. This sounds like a wonderful resource! Students need to see specific examples of what it means to make their writing stong in the Trait of Ideas, which comes from adding detail in different ways for different pieces.

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  41. Thanks to books like Gerald and piggy / Moe Willems my kindergarten kids have started adding speech bubbles to their illustration but I would love to see more ideas and techniques so that I can help some of the higher ability writers to add details and elaboration into their actual story text. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book

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  42. My students struggle in using detail effectively. Thanks for highlighting this new resource for teaching us how to make this fundamental skill happen.

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  43. This book looks fantastic! I was just talking with a student the other day, trying to help her understand how to add details–this would have been great to have!

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  44. Wow! I can’t count how many times I’ve Suggested that a student add more details when conferring with them. So excited for this book for explicit ways to show them HOW to add those details!

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  45. Sometimes I’m not sure that students understand what a “detail” is. I used to teach a lesson where I would draw two houses side by side. The first house was basically a square with a triangle on top for a roof (no details.) On the second house I added a door, then a doorknob, then windows, then curtains on the windows, then someone peeking out the window … Then students started suggesting ideas for details I could add, and this was the starting point for a shared understanding of what a detail even is. Although not all details are visual, which is where my “two houses” lesson breaks down … Looking forward to digging in more and learning from this book!

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  46. AWESOME!!! After teaching 6th grade for 17 years, last week I moved to 3rd grade where elaboration is NOT the same as I’m used to so I’m REALLY looking for some great ideas for my writers workshop!

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  47. This would be a tremendous asset for my writing classes. I teach 10 (yes 10) sections of 7th grade writing with over 250 students.

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  48. I like your “magician’s cape” simile…sometimes a magician is what I feel I need to be when requesting my students to add more detail…This book looks like it’s full of fresh ideas to challenge students to elaborate.

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  49. I’m excited about this book! We talk quite a bit about “show don’t tell” or in other words – elaborate, give more detail. I try and be specific and model, so to have this book would be a great help! Thanks for the possibility of winning it:)

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  50. Teaching students how to incorporate detail is hard work…this book looks like a great tool to help with this common conference we as teachers have so many times.

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  51. Can’t wait to see some ways to be able to make these clearer to students. I hear myself saying, “You need to add some more details to your writing,” but am I making my teaching explicit?

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    • Wouldn’t this be a MARVELOUS addition to the ol’ teacher toolbox?? Thanks for the recommendation and information.
      Fingers crossed that mine is the number randomly generated! 🙂

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      • I am definitely going to own this book. I love the idea of helping students to develop quality ideas. I’ve always said that nothing about nothing still equals nothing – it doesn’t matter how well you organize it, spell it, or punctuate it. Content is king. Students need to know how to develop their ideas – what works best for the specific writing piece they are presently engaged in. Thanks for this wonderful review!

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