First graders have no shortage of ideas. The hard part for them is putting thoughts together into a cohesive draft. Organizing and planning for writing defy simple description and aren’t easily modeled for students, making them challenging topics to convey to young children. Where do you find the language and tactics to teach these subtle processes? With this book, Stephanie Parsons will change how you think about teaching the thinking behind writing. Parsons outlines five specific units of study for your writing workshop that help students prepare thoughtfully to write. Beginning with a September unit specially designed to introduce the writing workshop to first graders and build a classroom community that supports risk taking and learning, each successive unit builds upon the previous one and fosters independence.

By June your students will know how to plan for writing out loud and on paper, leading to elegant, well-structured pieces. The units also help children to differentiate the planning and organization needed to write:
  • Fiction
  • Personal narrative
  • Nonfiction
  • Q and A books
  • Pattern books
Best of all, this book is corner-of-the-desk practical with concise, logically laid-out descriptions of how each unit of study operates, a variety of helpful tables, charts, and assessment diagnostics, as well as elaborations, teaching points for minilessons and conferences, troubleshooting tips, and month-by-month planning assistance.

If you’re new to first grade, Stephanie Parsons will give you ideas for top-notch teaching that will be invaluable as you establish your first writing workshop. If you’re a veteran, the units in this book will augment your existing workshop and help your students clearly conceptualize what high-quality writing looks like. Either way, you’ll help them write better by thinking about the thinking behind good writing.

Foreword by Katie Wood Ray.