For many students, grammar is mostly about memorizing rules and having teachers correct their mistakes. Author Sean Ruday’s Bachelor Grammar activity helps them see how authors use grammatical concepts purposefully to make a piece of writing as strong as possible.
Teacher read alouds work with middle graders, too. Literacy specialist and ELL coach Valentina Gonzalez describes why and how reading fiction, nonfiction, even picture books, aloud to young adolescents can advance learning. Included: specific strategies and resources.
Traditional conferencing isn’t a good fit for Amber Chandler’s project-based classroom. She uses a version of “unconferencing” that provides flexible student support, with help available from both teacher and classmates. A detailed example explains the process.
Those eager to share “pristine” nonfiction text with students may appreciate the Kilgallon’s mentor sentence choices, which cross genres, topics, and cultures. But ELA teacher Amy Estersohn finds their workbook approach at odds with her workshop vision of teaching.
In “The Writing Strategies Book” Jennifer Serravallo has pulled together 300 useful writing strategies and lessons, coordinated by grade, genre, and point in the writing process. Serravallo’s well-organized and easy-to-use resource is sure to come in handy right away, says reviewer Kevin Hodgson.
Paraphrasing is the first step on Sarah Tantillo’s “stairway” to deep reading comprehension and needs to be deliberately taught early in the school year. She shares a two-step process that can help students paraphrase strategically and offers a tool for student practice.
John Spencer’s book on tools for language acquisition will likely be most useful to teachers who are new to working with ELLs but not new to using technology in their lessons. ESL educator Susan Schwartz would have liked fuller explanations for various strategies.
In the valuable book Infusing Grammar into the Writer’s Workshop, Amy Benjamin and Barbara Golub make an effective team, says special ed teacher Marci Warboys. Benjamin focuses on research and pedagogy and Golub provides detailed lesson plans and resources.
The difficulty students have in writing clearly can be traced to many factors, says literacy consultant Sarah Tantillo, from muddled pre-CCSS standards to weak teaching practices. Here she offers concrete suggestions to correct persistent writing problems in the secondary grades.
In “Grammar Matters,” Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty make the case for embedding grammar in Writing Workshop and across the curriculum. Our reviewer recommends this hands-on exploration of mentor texts and engaging instruction and its many useful resources.