Sherry’s Writing Weblog

October 28, 2008

Ralph Fletcher

Filed under: Mini-Lessons for Writer's Notebooks — sdoherty @ 11:26 pm

I| am a huge fan of Ralph Fletcher.  Much of what I’ve learned about how to teach kids to write comes from reading his books.  He writes for teachers as well as students.  Ralph believes that writers are unique observers of the world.  They learn to write from observing lots and writing lots—writing about what they know.  In his words, “You don’t learn to write through going through a series of preset writing exercises.  You learn to write by grappling with a subject that truly matters to you” (What a Writer Needs, p.4).  This comment makes me question whether I was truly a writing teacher during my time in the classroom.  I assigned writing, edited writing, and assessed writing, but I don’t think I did a very good job of teaching writing.  I told kids to write, and we wrote and published a lot, but I didn’t show them how to write.  I mostly fixed their conventional errors.  Now that I know what I know, I am passionate about teaching kids the art of writing.

The writer’s notebook has changed my view of writing.  During my last year in the classroom I introduced it to my grade 3s and they couldn’t get enough of it, which convinced me that it was a truly powerful tool.  Keeping my own writer’s notebook has changed me as a writer, as well.  It used to take me a long time to think of what to write (just like the kids) but now it seems to flow.  I’ve discovered my voice and grown as a writer.   I would advise any teacher of writing to keep a writer’s notebook and share it with your kids.  They will love you for it.  I actually have 2, one I can share at school and one I can’t.

Ralph Fletcher has written many books for kids, to teach them how to become writers.  They are available at Chapter’s online for around $6.00 each.  The titles are:  A Writer’s Notebook, Live Writing, Poetry Matters, and How to Write Your Life Story.  There’s one more but the title escapes me.  These books are amazing read alouds.  Recently, I found Ralph’s web site.  He has a section with tips for young writers.  Check it out:

Thanks, Ralph for your many books and wise words.  I am a better teacher thanks to you.


1 Comment »

  1. Wow Article , I thought it was remarkable

    I look forward to more similar postings like this one. Do you have a RSS I can subscribe to for updates?

    Comment by niffunjucky — November 23, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

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