Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher

I absolutely loved reading the book Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi. It has been a GREAT resource for learning how to implement a writing workshop into your classroom. Here are some of the things that I learned from the book:
  1. Kids need a regular and predictable time to write.
  2. Writing Workshop should be scheduled at least 3 times a week (preferrably 5 times) for a period of 50 minutes or more.
  3. Setup a place for writers to access writing tools like paper, pencils, notebooks, computers, folders, scissors, tape, stapler, dictionaries, thesauri, word lists, checklists, colored pens, etc.
  4. Create a comfortable place for writing.
  5. Create both short and long term goals for the writing workshop.
  6. Use a writer’s notebook
  7. Write with your students
  8. Teachers should also keep a writer’s notebook that they write in on a daily basis.
  9. Use read alouds to encourage writing and to set a basis for mini-lessons.
  10. Have procedures in place for when students finish their writing pieces.
  11. Start the workshop with a mini-lesson, proceed to writing time while conferencing with students, and then have a sharing time at the end of the workshop.
  12. Use conferences to determine future mini-lessons.
  13. When conferencing with students remember to: LISTEN, READ, UNDERSTAND, BUILD ON STRENGHTS, and TEACH ONE THING.
  14. Remember to keep conferences short. Try to confer with a total of seven to eight writers.
  15. The Writing Process is non-linear.
  16. Read alouds are extremely important. Make a list of 20 picture books you will read aloud.
  17. Encourage daily independent reading.
  18. Create an editing checklist that students will use to edit their work independently.
  19. Determine how you will assign grades for writing produced in the writer’s workshop.
  20. Kids should be involded in self-assessing their writing.

This has truly been a resourceful book and one that I highly recommend if you are interested in implementing a Writer’s Workshop in grades K-8. The book addresses all of these grades throughout.


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