In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning (2nd Edition) Paperback – Feb 11 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
In my own classroom of tenth graders, I have gone from yawns and glazed eyes to students who leave my classroom at the end of the school year saying "I could write for pages and pages about how you've helped me become a better writer." I still address grammar, literature, "5 paragraph" essay writing, and the dreaded (and overrated)state tests. Instead of being students who force themselves to read and write for a grade, they are readers and writers who are proud of the accomplishments they produce in literacy.
I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about changing the way literacy is taught in our schools, and creating not only engaged students, but people who love to read and write.
Note that other reviewers found the book easy to read. But if you are already convinced that you want to refresh your approach to teaching reading and writing, you may grow impatient with the overabundance of anecdotes, homilies and elaboration.
Teachers know there is no itemized recipe for teaching, but a book on teaching writing could at least demonstrate the virtue of being concise. Mrs. Atwell should read her own quotes and not "cloud the issues with jargon in place of simple, direct prose...." (p. 16). (This is one of numerous quotes of Donald Graves, who returns the favor by endorsing her book in an exemplary brief foreword).
As one who likes quoting great writings in every chapter, the author could have used and applied the Hellenistic Demos: "I will be moderate in all I attempt and do Nothing to Excess."
Summary: it's just too much of a good thing. I'm going to spring for the workbook (Lessons that Change Writers) and generate even more royalties for the author, in the hopes it is more to the point.
In the Middle. Nancy Atwell. 1998. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc.
Remember middle school? Remember your first crush when
You see him walk past you in the hall your eyes lock. Yours want to stay locked forever-
Or your first dance when
You knew it was right, and you knew much more when it was not- something clicked -
Those days were so real. The crush so significant and the dance so memorable. And then remember when your crush didn't like you back? And the guy you clicked with on the dance floor turned around and danced with your best friend? Remember going home and writing about it in your journal; all those heart-breaking poems and hate letters. Just think about if your teacher allowed you to turn a piece in like that? Minus all of the bad words, that would have been powerful writing -- authentic and full of emotion -- I wish I would have been able to express myself like that in high school. Nancie Atwell in In the Middle knows that surviving adolescence is not easy. She gives teachers advice on how to go about the "real" issues that their students are going through. She gives her students freedom, the freedom to express all of the "thorns." In chapter three the book came alive for me. She talked about how important it was to have a class of reality. Teachers need to know what is going on in the lives of the adolescents. The pain they feel is real, the "thorns" of adolescents cause hurt and teachers cannot overlook that. Atwell claims that it is important for teachers to spend their lives focusing on this "fascinating" and "unpredictable" stage. "It's a stage of change - emotionally, physically, psychologically, and intellectually.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book, despite the low rating, is beautifully written. Atwell is a writer who uses language well. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Louise
This book has proven to be an invaluable resource in my grade 7 classroom. I had an idea of what I wanted my reading and writing program to look like, but would have struggled ten... Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2007 by Neil Varner
A book that helped inspire me to become a teacher. Some other reviewers may not find it totally "practical" for them to adopt, but anyone with common sense would know... Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003
You can let students have choices about what to write and still have formal guidelines, unlike what the other reviewer/teacher wrote. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003
Nancie Atwell does not teach in the public schools of America with 40 minutes of overcrowded class time where spelling, vocab. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2002 by F. Mercer
I had to read this book for a college class in my middle childhood education program, and I can tell you that it is not one I will sell back at the end of the semester. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2002
This book is honestly my Bible for workshop teaching. I refer to it constantly. The Appendices are a dream for a first year teacher like myself. Read morePublished on July 2 2002
Stuck on deciding the best way to implement reading or writing workshops? This is the book to have. The book is nothing less than a workshop in a box with concrete, implementable... Read morePublished on June 8 2002 by Steven Kral
This is an extraordinary book. Atwell seems to be a master at getting her students to perform. I cherish this text.Published on July 24 2001 by AJVoigt
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