Ask teachers about their biggest challenges in elementary and middle school, and many will cite the teaching of writing. It is often difficult for students find the joy, discovery, and satisfaction writing can yield. Published programs abound, focusing on the study of genres, and students learn to emulate professional writers. What Lisa Eickholdt and Patricia Vitale-Reilly have found is that adherence to genre studies can get in the way of student collaboration. Believing writing instruction should be more authentic, they offer students more choice, develop better collaboration, and sustain a sense of community, all through the implementation of writing clubs.
Writing clubs offer opportunities to
collaborate throughout the process of writing,
choose not only what to write but how to write it,
examine mentor texts and study craft techniques across genres,
develop speaking and listening skills, and
celebrate classmates’ accomplishments through publication.
Collaboration is widely recognized as a vital life skill. Lisa and Patty present a plethora of ideas on how gratifying it can be right now, as well as in the future. There’s an old proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.’ In Writing Clubs, we discover that there is no limit to how far young writers can go when teachers show them what it means to collaborate.
Lisa Eickholdt has worked as a teacher, interventionist, coach, and professor for twenty-eight years. Today, she is a middle school literacy coach, consultant, and writer. She’s the author of Learning from Classmates: Using Students’ Writing as Mentor Texts (Heinemann, 2015), and the co-author of The Night Before Christmas at the Zoo (Chronicle Books, 2023) with Lola Schaefer.
Patty Vitale-Reilly’s career in education spans 30 years and varies from being a teacher, staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, author, and founder of a literacy consulting group, to her current roles as consultant, author, and speaker. Patty is the coauthor of The Complete Year in Reading and Writing Grade 2 (Scholastic 2008), and the author of Engaging Every Learner (Heinemann, 2015) and Supporting Struggling Learners (Heinemann 2017).
Chapter 2: Launching Writing Clubs: Building Community and Establishing Collaborations
Section II: Complement Clubs
Chapter 3: Process Clubs: Using Clubs to Explore and Develop Process Skills
Chapter 4: Craft Clubs: Studying Mentor Texts Together
Chapter 5: Digital Clubs: Transforming Writing in Authentic Ways
Section III: Stand-Alone Clubs
Chapter 6: Genre Clubs: Writing Our Favorite Kinds of Writing
Chapter 7: Author Clubs: Finding a Writing Mentor
Chapter 8: Convention Clubs: Authentic Opportunities to Play with Writing
Children’s Literature Bibliography
Grades:3, 4, 5, 6
Media: 208 pp/paper
Item No: 1323
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
One clarion call of the pandemic is that we need to humanize our classrooms. In Writing Clubs, Patty and Lisa offer us a roadmap for how to reimagine writing workshop where children know and value each other as people and writers. If you're looking for the future of writing workshop, it's right here.
author of Start with Joy and Story.
Lisa and Patty demonstrate the myriad of ways collaboration is essential as the heartbeat of students' writing lives. Writing Clubs is the book you didn't know you needed, but absolutely do. Collaboration that lives in writing clubs is vital; it is the pulse that propels writers forward and creates transformative writing experiences.
Sonja Cherry Paul / Dana Johansen
educator, author, and co-founder #IREL/ middle school educator and author
Patty and Lisa have created a roadmap to help teachers implement complement and stand-alone writing clubs that will not only help students grow as writers, but will also help them learn how to collaborate. These are two life skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”
author of Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging Today's Students with a Model That Works