Writing, Redefined

Broadening Our Ideas of What It Means to Compose

When most of us think of writing we think of pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Shawna Coppola would challenge us, however, to expand our thinking of writing to go beyond strictly alphabetic and consider alternative forms of composition when assigning writing to students. By allowing ourselves and our students to redefine writing, we redefine what it means to be a writer.

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Writing, Redefined gives teachers the power to change what “counts” as writing in schools and classrooms, opening the doorway to students who may not consider themselves to be writers, but should and can. Shawna offers alternative and engaging writing assignments that are visual, aural, and multimodal that will involve all students, specifically the following:

  • who prefer to compose using a wider array of forms and modalities;

  • for whom so-called “standard” English is not the norm;

  • who’ve been identified as dyslexic;

  • whose cultural traditions lean heavily toward more aural forms of composition; and

  • who are typically considered “struggling” writers.

There is no question that composition in its most common alphabetic form is important and worthy of frequent study, practice, and play, but broadening our definition of writing opens up an enormous range of possibilities for composing for all students. Even teachers who might feel unprepared to embrace such a new approach will find Shawna’s specific suggestions and examples intriguing, perhaps irresistible.


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Do yourself a favor and order this book. Read it with colleagues. Grab your notebook and start experimenting with composition. You will be a better teacher of writers once you redefine writing.

Angela Faulhaber

Literacy Coach


About the Author(s)

Shawna Coppola has taught in public schools for almost two decades. She currently works as a national literacy consultant and speaker and is a volunteer teacher of 11-17 year-olds at a self-directed learning community in Dover, NH. When she is not teaching, she can be found dabbling with watercolors, writing comics, or exploring the beauty of her natural surroundings alongside her family.



Product Details

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Year: 2019
Item No: 1275
ISBN: 978-1-62531-275-4
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Hashtag: #WritingRedefined