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Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging today’s students with a model that works. Stacey Shubitz & Lynne R Dorfman

Image result for Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging today’s students with a model that works.It’s refreshing to see Stacey Shubitz and Lynne R. Dorfman come right out and say it: writing workshop is a model that works. Research has pointed towards this fact for many decades now and yet writing workshop remains on the periphery in the UK.

With a view to creating the conditions where Writing For Pleasure can flourish, the authors make the excellent decision to discuss the importance of setting up a writerly environment and to give practical advice on how to create a community of writers at the start. It’s only once this is established that they delve into the specific routines that make up the workshop approach.

This book’s greatest achievement is finding that difficult and often awkward balance between giving enough detail and advice on how to teach writing workshop while not giving the impression that it’s rigid or overly complicated. This book is full of simple and practical advice. Any teachers hearing about the writing workshop approach for the first time will be interested and reassured. The authors explain clearly the rationale for the fundamentals of the workshop approach, namely: mini-lessons, instruction in the recursive nature of the writing processes, daily writing-time, conferencing and class sharing.

If you’re a practitioner who is interested in developing a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, then this title should certainly be part of your reading.

More information about the book can be found at:

Punctuation..? by User Design

Photo of the book: Punctuation..?, front cover

Punctuation..? is a charming little pamphlet which looks to share the author’s enthusiasm for punctuation with his passion for drawing. A wide variety of interesting punctuation is described alongside drawings which hope to illustrate the purpose of the mark itself. The benefits of the book are that it looks to describe the function of the mark as opposed to simply focusing on any so called rules. This makes it potentially useful when teaching children. Indeed, what a nice thought that children too could be invited to sketch their impressions of what certain punctuation marks ‘do’ for their writing.

An example I particularly liked was about the semi-colon. User Design has what appears to be a young couple separated by some distance across the page. They stare longingly across to each other. Underneath it reads: ‘She looked at me; I was lost for words.’ The image looks to match the function of the punctuation – the separation of two parts of a sentence.

Whilst some of the punctuation covered is beyond the requirements of the curriculum, this is no reason not to share and delight in more quirky and less observed punctuation. Why not find out the circumstances for which to use a Guillemets or Pilcrow?

More information about the book can be found at:


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