1. Writers need regular chunks of time — They need time to think, write, confer, read, change their minds, and write some more. Writers need time they can count on, so even when they are not writing, they are anticipating the time they will be. Writers need time to write well.
2. Writers need their own topics — Right from the first day of kindergarten students should use writing as a way to think about and give shape to their own ideas and concerns.
3. Writers need response — Helpful response comes during — not after — the composing. It comes from the writer’s peers and from the teacher, who consistently models the kinds of restatements and questions that help writers reflect on the content of their writing.
4. Writers learn mechanics in context — They learn from teachers who address errors as they occur within individual pieces of writing, where these rules and forms will have meaning.
5. Children need to know adults who write — We need to write, share our writing with our students, and demonstrate what experienced writers do in the process of composing, letting our students see our own drafts in all their messiness and tentativeness.
6. Writers need to read — They need access to a wide-ranging variety of texts, prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
7. Writing teachers need to take responsibility for their knowledge and teaching — We must seek out professional resources that reflect the far-reaching conclusions of recent research into writing. And we must become writers and researchers, observing and learning from our own and from our student’s writing.
Source: “In The Middle: Writing, Reading and Learning With Adolescents,” by Nancie Atwell.
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