In the spirit of trying to put myself in the shoes of my students, I am looking to read some non fiction closely. I look through my bookshelf. Pull out a few books on my “in the process” of reading pile. But in the back of my mind is the suggestion I got in the #tcrwp chat: Colleen Cruz’s Independent Writers. I’ve read this book, several times but the train of thought created by that chat wouldn’t allow me to go elsewhere.
I start at the beginning. And I do remember this, yet it is good again.
What I realize as a reader of non fiction:
- To be engaged, choice is necessary.
- Good narrative writing makes good non fiction writing..
- The necessity of reader/writer connections. I see myself in this text, and I am immediately pulled in.
- To get someone to read your work, you better make sure they connect to you or your ideas. So much for the four corners of the page.
A few other things that resonated with me about writing:
- The need for all units of study to have an element of independence.
- Students need to have a “memory of writing success.”
- Frequent reflections on work is necessary.
- A community of support needs to be established well beyond the teacher.
- If students are allowed to follow their passions in writing they will crave it.
While this was written before (2004) our current technology and Common Core Standards, its timeless points are well worth the read. In many ways independence is encouraged in my classroom, but the idea of independent writing outside the units of study has always seemed impossible.
As I consider my work this year:
- Blogging requires (almost creates) the development of community, purpose and audience.
- Our current Genius Hour time, which has reached well outside the realm of writing could become a home for independent writing projects.
All food for thought as I read on.
So did I read closely?