jacqueline woodson · Reaching Your Writers Blog Series · writing workshop

In Case You Missed It: Reaching Your Writers

Throughout the week, my colleagues and I here at Two Writing Teachers have written a variety of posts with the unifying goal of reaching all writers. The importance of these posts is huge.

Between National Day of Writing which was in October, planning for the World Read Aloud Day which is coming up in February, seeing Harriet in the movie theater (which I highly recommend), and listening to Jacqueline Woodson’s TedTalk about literacy, I have been thinking more than ever of the moral imperative we have as teachers to ensure that all children learn how to write.

And writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where people can be seen and heard, where their experiences could be legitimized and where my story – read or heard by another person – inspired something in them that became a connection between us, a conversation. And isn’t that what this is all about – finding a way at the end of the day to not feel alone in this world and a way to feel like we’ve changed it before we leave?

-Jacqueline Woodson from her TedTalk, What Reading Slowly Taught Me About Writing

Writing connects us. It empowers us. It opens doorways, possibilities, and opportunities within academic experiences, careers, and relationships. And yet, we have so many students who struggle to access our curriculum and meet standards that enumerate the competencies of communication.

Our hope is that this blog series helps to bridge the divides between how we teach writing and how students learn writing because we all believe not only in the importance of writing, but also that all children can learn to write– and learn to write well– and even like writing!

Lanny began our blog series with an important and insightful post about the importance of writing. “Great power and possibility become potential reality for those who can write and write well,” Lanny wrote.

Kathleen continued the series with her post about how we help writers to find their writing identities. I love her message of leading with an understanding heart.

Betsy’s post about entry points will empower teachers of writing to find ways to connect striving writers with the power of possibility and success. “For my students, immersing them in the world of writing tools, strategies, and goal setting helps them see the openings that exist in the writing lives they are beginning to lead,” Betsy writes. I have no doubt that you, too, will find openings for your own students’ writing lives within this post.

You won’t want to miss Stacey’s post for inspiration on how to set up a classroom environment to foster and nourish comfort for students as they write. Writing classrooms don’t have to cost a fortune, but most writers know that their space matters. Wait until you see some of the possibilities Stacey has collected!

Equity matters in everything we do, and Kelsey’s post takes a close look at how we can set up writing workshop thinking about how all writers get what they need in order to meet their potential. Her students understand that “everyone gets what they need in a way that empowers and promotes independence”, and her post will nudge us all to think more about this important concept.

Paper is a powerful and sometimes untapped tool for reaching all writers. While many of us recognize the power of paper when we teach narrative writing, we can also differentiate paper options within other genres. Beth’s post provides strategies and resources that you can use right now with all of your writers in order to meet them where they are and set them up for success.

As the series winds to a close, Marina has important reminders about transitions. How do we maximize time for our writers? Her thoughts on clarity and focus as they relate to transitions are important to consider in writing classrooms.

My post closes our series. Communication and collaboration between all adults who work with writers is important; that way, we increase the commitment of everyone working toward transfer and independence.

I am grateful to my Two Writing Teachers co-authors for teaching me and inspiring me to know better and do better at teaching all children to write. And I am deeply honored that my book, Every Child Can Write is the give-away for this blog series. The winners are Tracy Mitchell and Amy Boyden.


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