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The Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K-5

The Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K-5
A Hands-on Guide to Child-Centered, Equitable Instruction

Foreword by Cornelius Minor

March 2021 | 224 pages | Corwin

“This book is an instructive call to action for all of us who need to be reminded of what hope enacted as classroom practice can look like.”  — Cornelius Minor

Every classroom is shaped by the skills, languages, social and cultural identities, perspectives, and passions of the children within it. When you approach writing instruction with a deep understanding of children in your classroom, everything else—assessment, planning, differentiated instruction, mentor and shared texts—begins to fall into place. And you can teach writing with inclusion, equity, and agency at the forefront.  

Authors Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum show you how to adapt curriculum to meet the needs of the whole child. Each chapter offers intentional steps for responsive instruction across four domains: academic, linguistic, cultural, and social-emotional. Features include:

  • Inspiration, classroom examples, and scaffolded tips for creating individualized resources
  • Customizable information-gathering and planning tools, classroom charts, and writing samples
  • Space for making notes and working through ideas
  • Links to online content, including printable templates 

Just as you adapt instruction to your students, this book adapts to you. The authors designed every guide, tool, and resource to be usable in its original form, or customized as you see fit. This indispensable resource will make responsive instruction actionable—and your students feel valued and heard as they recognize the possibility and power they have as writers.

Foreword by Cornelius Minor
Letter from the Authors
A Shared Story

The Four Domains of Responsiveness

The Structure of This Book

Chapter 1: Collecting Information About the Writers in Your Classroom
Chapter 2: Planning Responsive Instruction
Chapter 3: Co-Constructing Responsive Charts
Chapter 4: Selecting Responsive Mentor Texts
Chapter 5: Providing Responsive Demonstration Texts
Chapter 6: Empowering Students to Make Their Own Tools and Resources

This is a book that teachers, coaches, and administrators need to read. We know that responsive teaching is the best teaching, and it is also quite difficult to do well. Melanie and Kelsey do a beautiful job in offering classroom teachers thoughtful, practical ways to make their writing planning and instruction more responsive. I can’t wait to use this book in my classroom and share it with colleagues!

Christina Nosek
Classroom Teacher and Co-author of To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring With Confidence and Joy

Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum’s new text is bursting with fresh ideas that honor students, build connections, and create a clear vision for community-minded learning. The Responsive Writing Teacher is not only visually stunning but also smart, practical, and oh so needed! Meehan and Sorum help teachers shift from relying solely on curriculum guides to also using what they know about students (academically, linguistically, culturally, and socially-emotionally) to contemplate, plan, and implement high-quality instruction that makes sense for current learners. Throughout the text, there is a strong emphasis on intentional and habitual information collecting and efficient methods for turning these curated noticings into responsive teaching. The abundance of included tools support readers in implementing instruction that sees, respects, and builds on all aspects of classroom learners’ identities. I especially appreciate the combination of the why, what, how, when, and where behind each brilliant tool Meehan
and Sorum include. Further, the recurring Tips for Tomorrow feature crystalizes how to implement each shared idea immediately. Without a doubt, this is THE book that needs to be in the hands of every educator right now.

Pamela Koutrakos
Author of Word Study That Sticks and The Word Study That Sticks Companion

This thoughtful and thorough resource has so many actionable ideas and tools I’m surprised they’re not spilling out of the book! Melanie and Kelsey share their wisdom honed from deep study as they mindfully weave academic, linguistic, cultural, and social-emotional responsiveness into the components of writing instruction. With these two writing teachers by your side, you’ll transform your teaching space into one where ALL writers are honored, supported, and celebrated.

Maria Walther
Traveling Teacher, Literacy Consultant, and Author of The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What to Notice as You Turn the Page, and Co-author of The Literacy Workshop: Where Reading and Writing Converge

If you are a teacher who is curious about who your students are, what they bring as strengths, and what specific needs they have, Melanie and Kelsey will show you how to use a framework of inquiry to grow writers by being responsive to their abilities, identities, experiences, and needs. They truly help us keep our focus on the whole child as a writer, not just the writing.

Paula Bourque
Author of Close Writing: Developing Purposeful Writers in Grades 2–6 and SPARK! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms

I believe The Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K–5 is a book for our times because it helps teachers get to know their students—whether they’re teaching face-to-face or remotely. In this book, Melanie and Kelsey help educators rethink the ways things have always been done so all young writers’ needs can be met while teaching them how to become more independent. The Responsive Writing Teacher is an enduring gift for writing teachers who strive to be academically, culturally, linguistically, and socially-emotionally responsive to students.

Stacey Shubitz
Literacy Consultant, Chief of Operations for the Two Writing Teachers blog, and Author of Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging Today’s Students With a Model That Works

The Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K–5 is comprehensive without being overwhelming. If you want to push your writing instruction to the next level—and at the same time serve the whole child—explore this book!

Lynn Angus Ramos
K–12 English Language Arts Coordinator, DeKalb County School District, GA

Melanie Meehan

Melanie Meehan has been the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, Connecticut, since 2012. Within that position, she writes curriculum, works with teachers, and strives to send students off into the world as confident writers who love to express their ideas. Melanie is a co-author of Two Writing Teachers, a blog dedicated to the teaching of writing, as well as a regular contributor to Choice and Lead Literacy. She wrote Every Child Can Write,  which was published by Corwin Press in October 2019, and she co-authored The Responsive Writing Teacher with Kelsey Sorum, which was published in 2021. You can reach... More About Author

Kelsey M. Corter

Kelsey Sorum spends each day co-constructing joyful, integrated literacy experiences alongside nearly thirty kindergartners at a progressive public school in the Brooklyn neighborhood where she lives. Kelsey teaches in a classroom that uses the Integrated Co-Teaching model. Kelsey has shared personal and professional writing on blogs for three years. This is her first published book. Kelsey’s work is featured in Kids First From Day 1, by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz, and Welcome to Writing Workshop, by Lynne Dorfman and Stacey Shubitz. Kelsey presents at local and national literacy conferences as an advocate for early childhood... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071840641