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DIY Literacy: A Review & Giveaway

Wow, this sounds perfect. Thanks for recommending the book.DIY LiteracyIf you have been anywhere near Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your email, or the internet in general lately, you have probably heard about one of Heinemann’s latest publications, DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts.  If you are anything like me, you pre-ordered yourself a copy before it was released because, well, Kate and Maggie Beattie Roberts.

DIY Literacy did not disappoint.

As Franki Sibberson wrote in the foreword to the book, “Maggie and Kate trust that teachers have the key structures in place for literacy growth” (p. x). In this way, I felt like DIY Literacy was a perfect match for the readers of Two Writing Teachers.  It is not a primer on the workshop model or a beginner’s guide to teaching writing.  Rather, it will push your thinking about instruction and differentiation within an already existing workshop model.

DIY Literacy begins with an introduction to four types of teaching tools: teaching charts, demonstration notebooks, micro-progressions, and bookmarks.  First, Kate and Maggie outline how to create each one of these tools.  The remainder of the book is dedicated to showing us exactly how to use these tools to address some of the main problems we have as teachers of writing:

  • our students don’t remember what we have taught
  • we feel like our student are not working hard enough
  • we are not meeting the needs of all the students in our class

(Do Maggie and Kate have cameras set up in my school?  They really nailed it by addressing these three issues.)

Each of these four tools apply directly to the teaching of writing.  Are you students having a hard time remembering the important qualities of memoir writing?  Make a bookmark!  Are your students not doing their best work in your unit on short stories?  Create a micro-progression!  Are you trying to reach that one student who still struggles with adding dialogue?  Use a demonstration notebook!

After reading DIY Literacy, I felt like I had been given a superhero cape.  I felt armed and ready to teach writing.  I knew I could use my newly created demonstration notebook or a micro-progression or a chart to help me teach my students.  Really, I felt empowered.

As much as I love the DIY tools I now know how to create, I think my favorite part of the book is the Bonus Chapter, nestled right between Chapters Two and Three.  In this chapter, titled How Do I Find (and Write) Strategies for Teaching Tools?, Kate and Maggie grab us by the hand and coach us right through the process of strategy development.  This chapter will help teachers who feel unsure about creating teaching points to move kids forward in their writing.  This chapter is a confidence booster and a bonus indeed.

In short, I recommend putting DIY Literacy at the very top of your summer PD pile.  You, too, will feel like you have been given a superhero cape. You will be ready to grab some Sharpies and make your first DIY literacy teaching tool.  I know I can’t wait to make mine.

(Also, in case you missed it, you can catch Kate and Maggie’s DIY Literacy Video Series on their blog, Indent.)

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence.  Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of DIY Literacy, please leave a comment about this post by Saturday, June 18th 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, June 20th.
  • 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 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 – DIY LITERACY. 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.

Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post. Sue P.’s commenter number was chosen using a random number generator so she’ll receive a copy of DIY LiteracyHere’s what she wrote:

Wow, this sounds perfect. Thanks for recommending the book.

 

 

Dana Murphy View All

Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer

125 thoughts on “DIY Literacy: A Review & Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. As a district literacy coach, I am always on the look out for ways to empower teachers to tap into their professional powers, adorn their capes, and build capacity and confidence to help their students soar. This book sounds like the perfect tool to put in the hands of teachers. I am intrigued by the idea of micro-progressions and can already envision adding these to teachers’ toolboxes this fall. The book is already listed on my summer reading list and my pocket book would be thrilled to receive a free copy.

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  2. This sounds like a wonderful resource. I often tell my team mates how I feel like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day and have to keep reteaching the same day. I will definitely put this on my summer read list. Thanks for all the great ideas, strategies, and book recommendations.

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  3. One of my summer ‘to-do’s’ is to refine writing instruction for our intervention program. This book sounds like a helpful tool:)

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  4. A book with practical ideas that meet real needs in real classrooms! That’s what teachers want! I’ms sure one way or another this book will be added to my collection of tried and true professional books.

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  5. I can’t wait to read it! I feel strongly about the need to differentiate for all our learners without taking away the rigor and the heart of the lesson.

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  6. I can’t wait to get my hands on DIY Literacy! My coworkers were lucky enough to be featured in one of their awesome blog videos, and I know the book will be even better.

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  7. Just last week I was looking at DIY on the Heinemann site trying to decide if it should be added to my summer reading list. After reading this review, I’m adding it into my cart; unless I get lucky enough to have my name chosen.

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  8. I’m looking forward to reading this book over the summer. Kate was one of my graduate instructors at TC, while Maggie was one of my classmates (and later one of my summer institute leaders). They’re brilliant!

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  9. I have been eyeing this text and wondering if it’s worth a purchase… thanks so much for reviewing… I think it is! Maybe I’ll get lucky and win a copy! 🙂

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  10. Love that this book will take up beyond the model set-up and provide practical ideas on what to do with instruction once we’re set up! Keeping my fingers crossed for a chance to win it!

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  11. I just graduated with my MAT, and I am reading good books about teaching English this summer to help prepare me. I would like to win this. So far, I have found Kelly Gallagher books very helpful. I had not heard of the writers in the book from your post, so I am intrigued.

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  12. I would love to read this book and share it with my friend who teaches second grade and my daughter who teaches first. Then, we can be part of the online book discussion!

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  13. I am certain this could me just what I need to take me to a new level of Superhero Writing teacher! Added to my list of summer reading.

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  14. I’m joining the chorus of those singing the praises of Kate & Maggie and this book. I’ve loved watching their videos about DIY Literacy and would absolutely be thrilled to win a copy!

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  15. I love the idea of having a toolbox of ideas to get to “those” students! Writing is such a huge part of CCSS, and any additional ideas will be great!

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  16. I watched all of Katie and Maggie’s videos they did showing how to create their strategy notebook. I’m super excited to read their whole book!! Definitely on the top of my to read list this summer.

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  17. Looks like a great read. My writing instruction can always use some new ideas to help my kids. This book would benefit me and my students.

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  18. Their video series is amazing!! Brilliant to put individualized anchor charts in a notebook with ready to practice sticky notes! If I use them to teach whole class, why wouldn’t I use them in small group?! I can’t wait to read and learn about the rest of their teaching tools!

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  19. I swore to myself I wasn’t going to buy any books this summer until I had finished reading or rereading some of the amazing books I already have in my PD library…sounds like I will need to make an exception here:)

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  20. I had heard of this book and I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy it or not. Reading your review though, makes me want to order it right now!

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  21. Dana,
    I’ve watched Kate demo strategies and make it look so easy in less than 5 minutes. I, too, value the bonus chapter as it gives me MORE confidence that I know where to go with my strategy work! Great review! Can’t wait to pass this on to a friend if I win!!!

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  22. DIY Literacy IS at the top of my summer PD pile, along with Purposeful Play. I, too, love Kate and Maggie’s video series, especially how they make us feel that the challenges we have are the challenges everyone has, and that there is something we can do about it.
    Thanks for your review, and the giveaway.

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  23. The book and the accompanying videos are right on target! They give you concrete strategies to enhance literacy in the classroom. Charts galore!

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  24. Read so much about the power of this new book, DIY literacy. Sounds like a perfect book for the top of my reading pile and a great resource to share with our district’s teachers!

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  25. This was a book on my ‘wish list’ I e-mailed to my principal for books to purchase next year! I just love the ideas presented in this book. Kate Roberts is amazing…love “Falling in Love with Close Reading!” Can’t wait to read this one.

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  26. Even though I keep trying to step away from a lifelong obsession of purchasing teaching books, this post has convinced this retired teacher to buy another book. (Shhh! don’t tell my husband.) If I win the book, I’ll pass the love along to another teacher friend.

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  27. I am interested to read about “micro-progressions.” Transitioning from one lesson to the next is an area in which I’d like to improve. This book sounds like a terrific help. Can’t wait to read it.

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  28. This is the first I’m hearing about this book. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I know they’ve been taught this. Teaching in such a way to help our students know where to find the info to guide them the next time would be great. So often it’s about creating new habits.

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  29. I knew I wanted this book when I started reading their blog and watching their videos to answer teacher questions. Their advice is so practical you can literally go right back to your room and apply their suggestions!

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  30. This sounds like a great addition to the tools I am currently using to bring more success to students. I’ll be checking out the blog, too!

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  31. Wow! I have been lucky enough to take a course with Kate Roberts at the Writing Institute one summer. I can’t wait to read it!

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  32. I’ve already purchased a copy to read this summer, but would love another to put in the professional section of my library! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  33. This sounds like a valuable resource for so many teachers! As a retired teacher who substitutes and volunteers and fancies herself as a literacy coach/advisor to many I will get this book one way or the other! Should I win your giveaway I will read it and pass it on to a teacher who will love the new ideas. I have seen alot about it and some video. We should all be grateful for teacher literacy leaders who share their carefully designed, workable ideas so beautifully.

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  34. This book sounds like a good fit with the writing units of study. Another book to add to my summer reading list! Thanks for the “peek” inside.

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  35. So many books on my to be read list this summer- looks like I will need to pay for extra luggage on my return flight. I need this book, but I already knew this. Thanks for getting me even more excited to get it as soon as I get to the US!

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  36. I agree! The bonus chapter is much appreciated when your students seem to need “everything” yet you don’t want to rely on just a list of strategies to choose from.Thanks for the giveaway offer!

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