The Writing Strategies Book, by Jennifer Serravallo A Review
Jennifer Serravallo calls herself a “dedicated reading and writing workshop teacher.” As any dedicated reading and writing workshop teacher will tell you, teaching in this fashion is both tremendously rewarding and damned hard work. In her new book, The Writing Strategies Book,Serravallo has given the hard-working literacy teacher just the kind of help she needs. The Writing Strategies Book is a companion book to The Reading Strategies Book, which Serravallo released two years ago and which I reviewed here. Like the earlier book, The Writing Strategies Book has Serravallo’s characteristically thoughtful organization, grounding in research, and helpful format. Whatever your concern about the needs of a particular writer or group of writers in grades K-8, you are likely to find assistance here.
The book is organized around ten goals, arranged in a loose hierarchy. Serravallo’s view (reflecting Hattie’s research) is that the skillful writing teacher assists students to articulate a goal and then provides strategies and feedback to help them achieve that goal. The ten goals are composing with pictures, engagement, generating ideas, focus, organization/structure, elaboration, word choice, conventions, and partnerships and clubs. These goals are then arranged in such a way to allow teachers to pick and choose appropriately for students at different levels of writing development.
Each chapter introduces the goal and suggests how to know if the teacher is choosing the right goal for a particular writing student. The chapters also contain dozens of strategies to help the harried teacher meet the individual needs of students at varying levels of control of the writing process. These strategy sheets,Russ on Reading: The Writing Strategies Book, by Jennifer Serravallo A Review: