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Welcome to Writing Workshop: A Review and Giveaway

In my first year of teaching, I was one of the few new teachers at my school, in one of the few years that we had a full-time literacy coach. For my literacy coach, Gina, and I, this felt like fate.

Gina and I stayed at each other’s sides during writing workshop. Much like the structure of a minilesson, Gina modeled, we practiced together, then I tried on my own as she coached. We spent hours together on Friday afternoons, pouring over beautiful mentor texts, brainstorming new ideas, and browsing through Gina’s professional texts, which she’d loan to me over the weekends.

I became well-versed in the teaching of writing, thanks to Gina. But what I hold most dearly from our time together, is the contagious joy she infused in writing workshop: joy as we wrote alongside children, joy as we kneeled next to young writers and studied their writing, joy as we rallied in excitement during end-of-unit celebrations. Six years later, Gina and I are still dear friends (now living states apart), who talk routinely about writing.

As I began reading Welcome to Writing Workshop, I was instantly brought back to my formative years with Gina. Within the book, readers are gifted personal literacy coaches, writing partners, and friends — Stacey Shubitz and Lynne R. Dorfman become colleagues to share the joy with.

Bit by bit, Stacey and Lynne walk readers through all the necessities of a successful and cohesive writing workshop. Topics they cover include:

  • Workshop model
  • Classroom environments
  • Writing communities
  • Classroom management
  • Whole-class instruction
  • Independent writing time
  • Conferring
  • Small group instruction
  • Share sessions
  • Strategic instruction in grammar, conventions, and spelling.

A more detailed outline and preview can be seen here, by clicking on “Preview the book!”

New teachers (or better yet, pre-service teachers) will treasure having a single resource to reference as they dip their toes in workshop-style teaching. Stacey and Lynne make complex components of workshop, ones which teachers spend years studying, feel comprehensible and actionable.

Welcome to Writing Workshop is not to be overlooked by more seasoned teachers of writing, though. As Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts say in the foreword, “Stacey and Lynne have managed to achieve the almost impossible: they have written a book that speaks to the highest goals we can have as writing teachers, while holding our hands every step of the way.”

Stacey and Lynne provide educators with the mindset, language, background knowledge, models, tools and resources to lift instruction from any level of expertise. They’ve applied the same principles, which make the workshop approach successful for all students, to the craft of this book.

Writers stay at the center:

The heartbeat of this book is writer — students as writers, teachers as writers — together in a community. From the very first pages, Stacey and Lynne invite us on their journey with a unique lens: reader becomes reader-writer.

Mentors offer inspiration:

An array of photos and videos make Welcome to Writing Workshop a book to experience, not just read.

Provided by Stenhouse Publishers

A consistent structure is followed:

Chapters begin with connections, as minilessons do. It is in these relatable anecdotes that make Stacey and Lynne feel like frequented colleagues down the hall. From there, topics are clearly defined and categorized. Stacey and Lynne then get teachers and students equipped for success. Each chapter closes with a section titled, “When You’re Ready,” which both lifts the level of thinking and offers valuable tips.

A variety of tools are accessible:

Teachers will appreciate the balance of tools for teachers and students.

Provided by Stenhouse Publishers
Provided by Stenhouse Publishers
Provided by Stenhouse Publishers

Welcome to Writing Workshop is not the kind of book to read and shelve. It needs an accessible home, perhaps at a favorite writing spot, or perhaps in the classroom, alongside a conferring toolkit. Keeping Welcome to Writing Workshop nearby means never being in it alone. Stacey and Lynne are there, every step of the way.

“As we read this book, we were reminded of our writing workshops of old. Workshops were places where kids could invent, create, engage, and discuss their writing with great freedom and support. They were places where students’ voices were heard, cherished, and nurtured. They were places that we studied genres together and walked alongside great writing teachers in the pages of mentor texts. Writers wandered through the process, talking with one another, celebrating progress. You know, like real writers do.”

Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts (Welcome to Writing Workshop, Foreword)

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Welcome to Writing Workshop. Thanks to Stenhouse for donating a copy for one reader. (You must have a U.S. mailing address to win a print copy of this book.)
  • For a chance to win this copy of Welcome to Writing Workshop, please leave a comment about this or any blog post in this blog series by Friday, April 12th at 6:00 a.m. EDT. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number. The lucky recipient will be announced at the bottom of this blog post no later than Sunday, April 14th.
  • Please 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 the book 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 – WELCOME TO WRITING WORKSHOP. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Congratulations to Teresa Horson, the lucky recipient of this giveaway!

106 thoughts on “Welcome to Writing Workshop: A Review and Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. As literacy coach, I am always looking for ways to support my teachers in helping their students become engaged, independent thinkers and writers. This sneak peek has me so excited to buy and share this book with my colleagues! I can picture the energy and excitement in classrooms with teachers truly engaged in writing workshop.

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  2. Two great authors putting their heads together in this book is a reason to be excited for Stacey and Lynne. I look forward to reading this book. I would love to share this book with the English teachers who are trying to launch writing workshop.

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  3. I love ANY book that helps with writing ideas and this one looks absolutely wonderful to spark enthusiasm in teachers and students! I have zero writing book resources over here in India, so anything is wonderful (I do have a US mailing address I can use if I happen to be the lucky draw number!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As an instructional coach, I’m forever trying to find new tidbits, tips, and structures to work on with my teachers and our students…this sounds like a great resource!

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  5. This book sounds amazing. I am still trying to figure out workshop (at the high school level!) and would love to read Stacey and Lynne’s insights.

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  6. Thank you so much Stacey and Lynne for writing this easy to follow and read book about the writing workshop. I can wait to get my copy in the mail.

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  7. I would be so happy to add this book to my library—but it wouldn’t stay there for long or even land there right away, as I can already see myself handing it right to one teacher in particular and saying, “Let’s use this together.”

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  8. In a time where even workshop has become formulaic, scripted, and robotic in the name of curriculum compliance, this book is a fresh reminder of the ultimate joy to be found in the reciprocal, responsive, and recursive relationship between a community of readers and writers! Teachers will appreciate this breath of fresh air that takes them back to the purpose and foundation roots behind workshop while growing and stretching their knowledge and craft with the genius, When You’re Ready section. New teachers will find this to be a go to reference providing clear guidance, tools and encouragement as they embark on their workshop journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kasey, this is such a beautiful message. A review that any author would be over the moon to read. I know it’s at the heart of Stacey and Lynne’s hopes and dreams for this book as well. Thank you!

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  9. I am in my third year of teaching and will be starting my Master’s Program in the Ohio Writing Project. ❤️ I am looking for ways to become a stronger teacher of writing and revolutionize my classroom! Thank you for the opportunity!

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  10. What a wonderful resource this would be for first year teachers or as a refresher for teachers who have been implementing Writng Workshop for a while.

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  11. This looks like an amazing resource for all teachers of writing— new or experienced! Can’t wait to read it. Fingers crossed for the giveaway! 🤞🏻

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  12. This looks like a wonderful new resource to use for writing instruction with my 3rd graders. I also see great potential in sharing during PLC discussions too. I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

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  13. This book will be a great complement to “Craft Moves. Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts”. As a new teacher this is my go to book when planning. I love the practicality of Stacy’s strategies. I am sure this book won’t be the exception. I can wait to have it on my hands ya!

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  14. Wow! What a great resource. As a K-5 coach, this is will be a helpful support for all teachers of writing. I’m also going to suggest this book for our new teachers. The layout and video links look amazing. I am especially looking forward to the chapter on conferring in poetry. Bravo, Stacy ad Lynne!

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  15. Love the “cafe style” peer conference area in the classroom! What a fun idea! It really gives a positive/important vibe for students to conference with each other (away from where they did their first drafts).

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  16. Would love to win a copy of this book. I love the conferring cheat sheet. Conferring is the most challenging part of writer’s workshop for me.

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  17. I’m overwhelmed by all of the thoughtful comments on this post. Thank you, all, for your kind words about Welcome to Writing Workshop. Lynne and I are so proud to finally have this book out in the world.

    Many thanks, Kelsey, for this comprehensive review. I adore the pages you chose to include in this blog post!

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  18. Just heard about your book at a Mary Howard workshop. I’ve tried writers workshop before but have struggled to make it work effectively for all my students. I’m excited to read your ideas and try them.

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  19. What a wonderful book. I love the fact that there is positive reinforcement in it. I’ve always believed in telling my writers where they excel as well as some of their weak spots. I think an analysis of balance is in order to properly teach, guide and critique. Young and new writers need hope and encouragement just as much as they need instruction about the craft.

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  20. Professional books helped me initiate readers’ and writers’ workshops in my classroom. Now as a reading specialist/literacy coach, I work with teachers. This book sounds like a great one to read, learn from, and share.

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  21. Love the photos of conferring spots. Also, I was so happy to read the advice that teachers who teach writers need to write themselves. Thanks for the wisdom!!

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  22. This sounds like a great book! As an instructional coach, I spend hours working with teachers to introduce the writing workshop model. I wish I’d had this book when I started. It will be a wonderful resource.

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  23. This looks like a fabulous resource for any teacher reflecting on his or her writing workshop and how it can be made even more fitting for the children working in it.

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  24. This sounds like a different type of book from any other writing instruction books/resources I have read and would LOVE to have a copy of it!

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  25. It’s funny how every batch of kids have different strengths. This year’s batch has writing stamina but I don’t feel as many of them are pushing themselves as writers, setting goals and applying different writing strategies. Next year I would really like to focus on writing conferences, fostering independence that way and making that interchange between writing partners more meaningful.

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  26. I often find that teachers and students feel compelled to “stay with the script” for the day and plan/write/revise as per the focus of the mini lesson…I would love to use this with my teachers to broaden and deepen our thinking about writing. I’ve already ordered my own copy but a good book can only become great if it is shared.

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  27. There’s always more to learn and refine about Writing Workshop. Looks like a great book to use and discuss with others. The Twitter chat last night about writing workshop and this book #G2Great was so helpful, too! Thanks for the chance to get a copy of this book!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I would love this book as a literacy coach to share with many of my new teachers who are still learning about writing workshop.

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  29. This book would be a perfect addition to my professional library! I am a middle school Writing Workshop teacher and am always looking to improve upon my craft! Thank you!

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  30. “Perhaps most important of all, the idea of teacher as writer is an essential ingredient to success.” YES, YES, YES! Being the the genre as teachers, reading or writing, and experiencing what our students will experience supports our understanding of navigating our own teaching moves to best support our literacy learners!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. As a literacy coach, I’m so excited to get my hands on this book! It looks like it will be a great tool to use to support teachers with writing workshop!

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  32. I would love this book not only for myself but for the teachers I work with. Teaching writing feel like a daunting task and this book could hold their hand through that journey.

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  33. I would love to have this book. I like the charts and the structure but I love the expression of the JOY of writing. I’d love to see students love to experience the pure joy of expressing themselves in writing.

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  34. I would love this book for myself and for the teachers I work with. Teaching writing scares so many new teachers. This book can hold their hand during the process of learning.

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  35. Thank you for the sneak peek! Putting this on my summer reading list. As a reading specialist, we are often asked to support teachers with writing in their classrooms and this looks like just the book to use for coaching.

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  36. I have colleagues and friends who are stumped as to where to start with workshop. This book is just the ticket to getting them started on the right foot!

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  37. So thrilled for Stacey and Lynne as their book begins its life. It looks amazing and full of resources, reminders, ideas and inspiration for both new and seasoned teachers. As a coach and coordinator for writing instruction at my school, I would love to add their book to my toolbox.

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  38. This book sounds amazing. I work with middle school students (grades 6 & 8). This book has many new ideas that I can implement into the writer’s workshop I currently have in place. Thank you.

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  39. Love revisiting these charts as well. I love the “What Can I Do During Workshop” and I would also make this chart with my students, leading them toward the information on the tool!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Kelsey, so many gems in your post but this spoke to me for both novice and veteran workshop teachers, “Welcome to Writing Workshop is not a book to be read and be shelved.” So true. We will want to keep Stacey and Lynne’s book close by to revisit often to celebrate our own joy.

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  41. “The heartbeat of this book is writer — students as writers, teachers as writers — together in a community.” This is what brings workshop to life – the beating hearts of writers, writing about things meaningful to them, discovering the power of words, language, voice, learning to effectively harness and release them… together. The importance of teacher as writer cannot be overstated. What an amazing, comprehensive resource (congratulations and thank you, Stacey and Lynne!) and what a magnificent guided tour of it in this post!

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  42. I am so interesting in using this book to help explain what I do (or try to do) in my classroom. So many of my colleagues were trained and educated in a traditional way and it is so hard to explain why the workshop model works! I am looking forward to reading and using this book, not just to assist my colleagues, but to add to my goal of continual reassessment and improvement of my own practice. Thank you!

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    • I called Stacey after reading the opening and said, “Anyone who is not yet using a workshop approach will be convinced by page 20!” It’s super important that you are staying true to what you know is best, and I hope this book will be a game changer for your colleagues!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Of course, this sounds like the kind of book I could use for myself and with the teachers I mentor. Sometimes, when you’ve done something for a long time, as is the case for me with writing workshop, it’s easy to forget what’s important so that what you is not as effective as it once was. I look forward to reading this book.

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