Saturday, May 29, 2010

Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing by Penny Kittle

Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing by Penny Kittle


Pages: Paperback, 272 pages

Publisher: May 9th 2008 by Heinemann

Write Beside Them debuts as the field's most comprehensive, contemporary, and practical book on high school writing. Kittle not only tells how a skillful writing teacher operates, she shows you on the accompanying DVD, with clips of kids at work in every stage of a writing workshop. And all this glorious teaching happens with real, sometimes struggling kids who remind us of our own classrooms and students. Write Beside Them is the whole package.

- Harvey Daniels Author of Content-Area Writing and Subjects Matter


What makes the single biggest difference to student writers? When the invisible machinery of your writing processes is made visible to them. Write Beside Them shows you how to do it. It's the comprehensive book and DVD that English/language arts teachers need to ensure that teens improve their writing. Across genres, Penny Kittle presents a flexible framework for instruction, the theory and experience to back it up, and detailed teaching information to help you implement it right away. Each section of Write Beside Them describes a specific element of Kittle's workshop:


- Daily writing practice: writer's notebooks and quick writes

- Instructional frameworks: minilessons, organization, conferring, and sharing drafts

- Genre work: narrative, persuasion, and writing in multiple genres

- Skills work: grammar, punctuation, and style

- Assessment: evaluation, feedback, portfolios, and grading.


All along the way, Kittle demonstrates minilessons that respond to students' immediate needs, and her Student Focus sections profile and spotlight how individual writers grew and changed over the course of her workshop. In addition, Write Beside Them provides a study guide, reproducibles, writing samples from Penny and her students, suggestions for nurturing your own writing life, and a helpful FAQ. Best of all, the accompanying DVD takes you right inside Penny's classroom. Its video clips explicitly model how to make the process of writing accessible to all kids. Penny Kittle's active coaching and can-do attitude alone will energize your teaching and inspire you to write with your students. But her strategies, expert advice, and compelling in-class video footage will help you turn inspiration into great teaching. Read Write Beside Them and discover that the most important influence for all young writers is their teacher.


This book has completely pumped me up for teaching writing next year! So many books are out there with great information, but I found Penny’s to be the best fit for me. I think it is because she is a lot like me in her teaching style and beliefs. I LOVED that I was able to see her in action with her students and see how her first day of the workshop goes. So many of the great books on Writing Workshops out there are geared to the elementary school level and not to middle and high school and Penny has done an amazing job at showing how her Writing Workshop works in her classroom. This book will definitely be referenced many times over the coming years.

Thank you Penny for such a great resource and thank you Ruth for this recommendation!


"Believe any kid can learn, no matter how far behind and how resistant; try in as many ways as possible to connect and teach; love each student unconditionally with the patience and faith it takes to see it through."

- Penny Kittle

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