Writing Clubs

Fostering Choice, Collaboration, and Community in the Writing Classroom

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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.

About the Author(s)

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).


Table of Contents

Chapter Summaries


Foreword by Paula Bourque

Section I: Laying the Foundation

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Writing Clubs

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



Product Details

Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6
Media: 208 pp/paper
Year: 2021
Item No: 1323
ISBN: 978-1-62531-323-2
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers