ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teacher Feature: Book Review

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teacher Feature: Book Review

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Jenn, a 2nd grade teacher, recently read the following book to enhance her writing instruction. She shares the following professional review with us here.

“Every student in your class, whatever the grade level, should have his or her own blog.”

Barry Lane, author of But How Do You Teach Writing? A Simple Guide for All Teachers

Barry Lane’s approach to teaching writing is entertaining and informative. His book, But How Do You Teach Writing? is separated into three main parts: getting started, reasons to keep writing, and how to make writing better. In it Lane suggests ways to enhance student performance in both fiction and nonfiction writing. He emphasizes the need for teachers to allow students to choose their own topics and strongly encourages teacher creativity and flexibility. In order to meet individual needs, Lane recommends setting up a writer’s workshop where the process of writing can be explored. He provides some basic guidelines to follow while acknowledging the need for teachers to create their own structure. The “Lane’s Law of Literacy” statements that appear throughout the book give quick glimpses into Lane’s personal beliefs as well as provide helpful insight. In addition, the funny comics throughout the text add a hint of his personal humor. It is an easy read and a great guide to have sitting by a desk. My copy is full of dog-eared pages, highlights, and sticky notes and I reference it often. I appreciate the layout of the chapters and the “Try this” sections that suggest how to put the ideas into practice. There is also a “Yeah, But” part at the end of each chapter where Lane answers readers’ questions. I especially like the top 21 forms that are provided at the end of the book. Barry Lane’s book is a must read for any teacher looking to improve student writing.


  1. This sounds like a great resource...too bad I'm not in the classroom any more!

  2. I'm very excited I found your blog. I've been out of teaching for almost 7 years to stay home with my kids. I'm getting ready to get back into it soon and your blog looks like it will be an excellent resource.