Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teaching Adolescent Writers

I am still Homeschool Atheist Momma!

This fall I am resuming a co op class that I taught before our trip to Australia:  English 1 for high schoolers. In preparation for that I have been doing tons and tons of reading. For other teachers or homeschooling moms out there who might be working with adolescents, I have to highly recommend an excellent book that I ran across.

It is called Teaching Adolescent Writers by Kelly Gallagher.
I expected ideas and skills and such. What I got, instead, was an entire philosophy for writing. The book contains very useful tools for getting our teens to write. Replacing the one rubric fits all student idea with customizable rubrics that the teens and and leader/teacher create together for each writing project is a wonderful idea! Not all students have the same strengths and weaknesses in the world of composition and Mr. Gallagher has ideas for bringing every student into the lesson and taking something away from it.

Let's face it, learning how to write is an essential tool for every person. Being able to transmit one's thoughts effectively is one true sign of comprehension and intelligence and there is one way to learn how to write: by writing. Without practice, a teen's writing skills will remain immature, even atrophy. This book encouraged me to stay serious about this skill during the upcoming fall semester and I know I will keep the book on my table to refer to regularly.

In Teaching Adolescent Writers, Kelly Gallagher shows how students can be taught to write effectively. Kelly shares a number of classroom-tested strategies that enable those working with teen writers how to:
  • understand the importance of teaching writing;
  • motivate young writers;
  • see the importance that modeling plays in building confidence and skills in teens
  • understand how providing choice elevates adolescent writing, and isn't that what homeschooling is all about!
  • help teen writers to recognize the importance of purpose and audience;
  • assess and edit essays in ways that drive better writing performance.
 As I read the book I found myself getting more and more motivated to work with the new group of teens that will be here under my roof in the fall. I hope I can do them justice, because I take their ability to write very seriously.

If you are interested, you might also read these posts:
Homeschool High School English 1, A Co Op Class
More Writing Prompts
English 1
Don't Kill the Writer
Great Reads for Teens and Tweens:  For the Love of a Good Book
Just a bit of my reading

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