New England Reading Association Journal

Peer-reviewed journal provides articles, interviews, essays, and research reports of interest to educators. Issues investigated include literacy, classroom practice, and assessment.

Articles from Vol. 40, No. 1, 2004

"A Sense of Place": Donald Graves and the Organization and Management of the Writing Classroom
In the successful writing workshop, students select topics that have deep importance to them. They craft their work over extended periods of time, experimenting with ideas and learning through the act of writing rather than regurgitating others' thoughts....
Dear Bob Kerrey: Six Middleschoolers Tell How They Became Writers
Last spring, our seventh and eighth grade writing class was intrigued by an article in the New York Times (Lewin, 2003) that reported about a five-year campaign to improve the teaching of writing in U.S. schools, to be led by former Senator Bob Kerrey,...
Dear Napoleon, I Know You're Dead, But
WOODRUFF, ELVIRA. (1992). Dear Napoleon, I Know You're Dead, But... New York: Dell Yearling. ISBN 0-440-40907-1Whether snow, sleet, or freezing rain, the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail. UPS promises do get it to you overnight. FedEx has same day service....
Expanding the Writing Process to Accommodate Students with Learning Disabilities
In "Reading expository text: The challenges of students with learning disabilities" (The NERA Journal, 2002, 38:2), we wrote: "There is substantial evidence that for most of our students, expository reading poses a challenge that contributes to their...
Interest Journals: From "I Don't Know What to Write About" to Chat Rooms on Paper
With so much emphasis being placed on prompts and prescriptive writing, are we eliminating the passion and voice young writers often bring to their pieces? How do we help students find their own topics and in the process find their voice? What can we...
It's Conversation That Drives the Bus in the Writing Workshop
The purpose of this article is to identify conversation and verbal feedback as essential "best practice" elements in making the writing workshop succeed. In this explanation of a writing workshop for preservice teachers, students are immersed in four...
"It's Got to Be the Most Important Thing We Do.": Three First-Grade Teachers Reflect on the Writing Process
All three of us came to the writing process while searching for answers about teaching reading. In 1983, Colleen was teaching first grade in a large, urban school district and desperately trying to figure out how to help the children who struggled with...
Let's Bring Back the Passion to Classroom Writing
In the 1980's we witnessed a glorious explosion of writing in schools. Donald Graves's landmark (1983) book Writing: Teachers and Children at Work (perhaps the first book to capture students in the act of writing), along with Nancie Atwell's In the Middle...
My Writing Process: A Repeating Number
My, you've been busy," everyone says when they learn of my three newly published multicultural books: The Carpet Boy's Gift, my picture story book; Ten Mice for Tet, my first "co-created" picture book; and, Tangled Threads, my first novel. It takes way...
On Writing for Children and Children Writing
My monetary assistance to the United States Postal service in the form of SASEs (self-addressed stamped envelopes) must hold some kind of record. And if not, then my phone call to an editor at Grosset and Dunlap, who was (try and follow this) the mother...
Personal Narratives: A Tale of Three Stories
"Selfhood begins in imagination, through processes of identification encouraged by the stories that we tell each other" (Pagano, 1991, p.257).Over the years I have used storytelling in multiple ways in my undergraduate and graduate courses about literacy...
Photo Op: Murray, Graves, and Minnie Mae
Summertime. Durham, New Hampshire. hot and muggy. All day I've taught a writing workshop for teachers at the University of New Hampshire, 8:15 until 2:15. "Full bore," as program director Tom Newkirk puts it. This evening I'm going to Don and Minnie...
Reading Historical Fiction like a Writer
I love reading historical fiction with children. It delivers a vicarious experience that enables them to get a sense of how lives were lived in the past. They can imagine what it would be like to walk down the street of a California gold rush town like...
Reading What I Haven't Written
At readings the most frequent question I am asked is, "Where do you get your ideas?" I answer, "I don't have ideas." That answer confuses the reader and sounds rude, and so I go on to try and explain the reading that precedes my writing which seems even...
Revision: Different Editors for Different Drafts?
How can different editors for different drafts help students to discover themselves and their writing?A few years ago as a high school English teacher, I began to notice that the majority of my student writers were working with as many as six different...
Seven Reasons to Teach Poetry
If I could only teach one genre, it would be poetry. As a teacher of first and second graders, I want to inspire and instruct my students to craft clear and memorable pieces of writing. I want them to develop their own writing voices and become better...
Teaching the Writing Process: Four Constructs to Consider
I recall sitting with a group of three students. Andrew* had written only a few sentences, though students had been working on this assignment for several class days. When I asked him if he had more to say, he stared back at me as if I had spoken a different...
Writing Practices, Writing Experiences, and Their Contexts
The books in this collection of reviews share writing practices and experiences in supporting the writing of all students. They contrast with each other in that they provide a colorful mosaic of varied contexts for writing. Authors discuss writing practices...