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Elizabeth Hale worked in the Boston Public Schools for nine years as a third- and fourth-grade teacher and as a literacy coach in K-8 schools. She currently consults with schools and districts on writing and reading instruction and is also pursuing her doctorate degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Elizabeth was previously a full-time faculty member of the education department at Emmanuel College, where she taught undergraduate and graduate literacy courses and supervised student teachers in the Boston area.
Liz describes her approach to professional development as practical and realistic. "I am extremely aware of how precious teachers' time is and I am also aware that they are often overloaded with theory. My goal is to offer a good deal of practical strategies so they can begin implementing next steps the very next day."
Both of Liz's books, Crafting Writers (2008) and Readers Writing (2014), come from the work she has done with teachers in the Boston schools, both as a literacy coach and district workshop leader. "Although the introduction of Writing and Reading workshop was a positive one, there were curricular expectations that were quite general and teachers were not really sure how to help students with more general concepts such as writing with detail or making inferences. A lot of my work has come from trying to make literacy goals more tangible and "doable" for kids of all levels. As is turns out, making writing and comprehension strategies more tangible for kids also made them easy to teach!"
In Crafting Writers (2008), Liz breaks down the general goals of "writing with voice" or "adding details," offering specific craft lessons that teach students one particular way to develop their writing at a time. These lessons support student engagement and accountability by having students try out the strategy in their notebook before applying it to their independent writing. Crafting Writers also addresses the skills behind conferring, particularly looking at students' writing and identifying strengths as well as next steps.
Liz's new book, Readers Writing: Strategy Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Texts, presents lessons and strategies to support student independence with reader's notebooks in grades 3-8. Each of the eighty-seven lessons falls under one of the following comprehension categories: Questioning, Connecting, Analyzing, Synthesizing, and Evaluating. The goal of strategy lessons is to teach students the language of thinking and writing about reading so they can apply it to any book. Other chapters focus on supporting literal comprehension with nonfiction texts, noticing thinking in student writing, and using reader's notebooks for comprehension conferences. Appendixes show how lessons align with the Common Core Read Anchor Standards and give suggestions for other narrative and informational texts to use in lessons.
Liz lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Xavier, who is a Boston public high school teacher, her two-year-old son, Dexter, and their dog, Dewey. Liz loves walks with her family, cooking, swimming, running, and cross-country skiing.