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What a Writer Needs Paperback – November 16, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0435087340 ISBN-10: 0435087347

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The work of Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, Donald Murray, Nancie Atwell, and others has led to a whole generation of writing process workshops where children write, share, revise, and publish their work with confidence. Bus such progress raises problems, and teachers today have a number of new concerns, mainly: Now that my students are writing, how do I help them improve? What A Writer Needs answers these concerns. In engaging,anecdotal prose, Ralph Fletcher provides a wealth of specific, practical strategies for challenging and extending student writing. There are chapters on details, the use of time, voice, character, beginnings and endings, among others. The work of student and professional writers is sprinkled throughout the book, and a generous appendix of useful picture books and novels is also provided. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (November 16, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435087347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435087340
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ralph Fletcher is a friend of young writers and readers as well as writing teachers. He has written or co-authored many books for writing teachers includng Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Teaching the Qualities of Writing, Lessons for the Writer's Notebook, Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, and Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing. Ralph has worked with teachers around the U.S. and abroad, helping them find wiser ways of teaching writing.

Ralph's many books for students include picture books (Twilight Comes Twice, Hello Harvest Moon, and The Sandman), novels (Fig Pudding, Flying Solo, and Spider Boy), poetry (A Writing Kind of Day and Moving Day), and a memoir, Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid. His novel Uncle Daddy was awarded the Christopher medal in 2002. He has also written a popular series of books for young writers including Poetry Matters, Live Writing, and A Writer's Notebook. Ralph lives with his family in New Hampshire. He is a strong environmentalist who believes we all must work together to live in a more sustainable way. His other passions include travel, good food, dark chocolate, growing orchids, and sports.

Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
I know kids like these.
SueZeal
Teachers in grades kindergarten through graduate school would benefit from reading Fletcher's book.
Buddy Gambill (gambillb@uncwil.edu)
Lessons are clear, concise and meaningful.
Karen J. Van Gundy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Buddy Gambill (gambillb@uncwil.edu) on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Words simply cannot describe this book. I read it through in one sitting and was left craving more. Teachers in grades kindergarten through graduate school would benefit from reading Fletcher's book. Simply outstanding!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SueZeal on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ralph Fletcher's "What a Writer Needs" is what I needed. Fletcher's writing is itself delightful. I WANT to sit down with the book and dip into it. His children's examples range from simple to profound, representing the gamut of talent and subject matter. But these are real kids with their invented spelling and honest perceptions of the world. I know kids like these. The book makes me want to write and to teach writing. What more could I ask for?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen J. Van Gundy on August 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ralph Fletcher's What a Writer Needs surpassed all my expectations. As an assigned text for the Colorado Writing Project summer 2009, What a Writer Needs provided unique and innovative ideas for engaging students in the craft of writing. Whether you are a teacher of writing or a teacher who writes, this is a text that will immerse you in the spirit of writing. Lessons are clear, concise and meaningful. The autobiographical approach used by Fletcher offers "over the shoulder" mentor support.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
By now an oldie-but-goodie, WHAT WRITERS NEED comes out of the early 90s when the workshop method was at its heady peak. Yes, it is still the rule in many English classrooms today, but some teachers only engage in a "hybrid" workshop, no thanks to constraints put on their time by high-stakes testing (and so forth).

In any event, Ralph Fletcher covers the bases nicely by providing chapters on specificity, character, voice, beginnings, endings, tension, a sense of place, playing with time, unforgettable language, and a significant subject. Embedded in these chapters you will find specific ideas for mentoring kids as well as numerous examples from student writers, aged kindergarten to eighth grade. What's more, Fletcher offers many of his own pieces as exemplars, from poetry to fictional excerpts. This, then, is a writing teacher who can write (and, in fact, has published in many magazines).

Overall, it may not offer anything new if you're an experienced workshop practitioner, but you'll probably find a new angle on something and it's fun to read in any event. And if you're a novice at workshop curriculum, this will prove an invaluable primer on where you can go and what you can do. Add Fletcher to your bookshelf alongside Donald Murray, Donald Graves, Linda Rief, Nancie Atwell, and Penny Kittle.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
I love this author and I love this book!!! Ralph Fletcher has a way of nudging us as teachers while completely understanding how difficult it is to teach writing! This is a gentle read that uplifts and inspires while it informs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book about the philosphy and art of crafting writing and the even trickier art of teaching it to students. If you enjoy this book, check our the shorter"Craft Lessons" as well - it's full of great mini-lessons and tricks.
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