Writing instruction stands at a crossroads Efforts to define and then assess the key qualities of writing have helped pinpoint what outcomes matter most and how to measure them, yet they threaten to become an end in themselves Meanwhile, high quality instruction seeks to create a safe environment that applauds risk taking by supporting students through strategies that are not readily measured In this landmark book, Vicki Spandel takes on the immeasurable, opening an exciting discussion about the conditions writers need to achieve their full potential and offering practical applications for any writing classroomIn TheRights of Every Writer Spandel invites nine published authors into a discussion of what makes writing work Well known novelists, researchers, science writers, and teacher writers join this dynamic conversation, and together they draw vital conclusions about teaching strategies that both lead to growth in craft and allow good teaching to flourish Join Spandel and friends in discovering the personal and instructional importance of reflecting finding personally important topics going off topic personalizing the writing process writing badly to unearth and clarify meaning observing other writers at work assessing constructively and well experiencing structural freedom unearthing the power of each writer s voice As you will discover, TheRights of Every Writer weaves the philosophical into the practical, offering powerful, ready to use lessons that jumpstart the progress of the writers in your classroom and help them reach writing standards Harness your passion for writing instruction, let go of rigid practices, and balance the needs of maturing writers with today s classroom realities Read TheRights of Every Writer, learn to trust your teaching instincts, and concentrate on what matters most creating an instructional setting where writers can achieve success that soars beyond what can be measured


10 thoughts on “The 9 Rights of Every Writer: A Guide for Teachers

  1. Megan Megan says:

    Ugh Writers need time and choice I just saved you from reading 150 pages about it That s the bottom line in the book Time and choice.


  2. Laura Barone Laura Barone says:

    The 9 Rights of Every Writer by Vicki Spandel immediately caught my attention when I was choosing a book to read I was looking for something that would help me through the standards of high school, but with criteria that would also meet the needs of my struggling students Clearly this is a book for a teacher in any grade, since the strategies will apply to all levels Spandel discusses reflecting, finding personally important topics, going off topic, personalizing the writing process, writing The 9 Rights of Every Writer by Vicki Spandel immediately caught my attention when I was choosing a book to read I was looking for something that would help me through the standards of high school, but with criteria that would also meet the needs of my struggling students Clearly this is a book for a teacher in any grade, since the strategies will apply to all levels Spandel discusses reflecting, finding personally important topics, going off topic, personalizing the writing process, writing badly to unearth and clarify meaning, observing other writers at work, assessing constructively and well, experiencing structural freedom, and unearthing the power of each writer s voice I truly found each chapter to have insight like I never would have thought it to be The amount of things I was able to connect with, that I could see myself being able to do, was unimaginable I was so excited to finish the book before I had even completed the first chapter Vicki Spandel has many talking points in each chapter, and then continues on with an expert writer at the end of each section for further clarification on the chosen topics Two of her topics that I felt so compelled to share were in chapter two and chapter seven Chapter two discusses the right to choose a personally important topic Spandel made it clear that if we can teach students about choosing their own ideas to write about, then we will foster much stronger writers when everything is said and done To paraphrase, Writers who discover their own topics write with voice and commitment When the voice is strong, the writing literally becomes an extension of self, and because writing with voice is worth reading, we should do everything possible to encourage students to create such writing, and everything we can think of to eliminate time wasted on creating writing no one writer or reader cares about Spandel, Ch 2 That being said, there are many ways we can go about this, and we should use all of them interchangeably Model for your students about choosing a topic, digging into your memories and experiences Allow your students to see you keep a writing journal, one in which ideas go down, and that you have come back to at a later date Good writers are ones who gather, store, and save ideas , says Spandel, so allow your students to continually see your good example Vicki also uses a hang gliding reference, something that we refer to as scaffolding Give your students the tools to be successful writers, and eventually they will be ready to jump off that cliff while writing independently Help them feel like their writing will be received by a caring and compassionate audience, and not just one looking to give a grade based on a rubric in which the state has provided us with Moreover, if we allowed students in assessment situations to define their own topics, their skill in doing so could become part of what we assess, thereby literally doubling the significance of that assessment We need to help students to become thinkers, not just responders, since that is such a huge life skill needed to be successful Which leads me into my next most important idea from this book, about how assessment must focus on what matters, not what is easy to measure, and that all writers have the right to be assessed constructively and well Being assessed well means three things, as Spandel states One being that assessment must be perceptive Teachers should carefully and reflectively read the submitted piece with a writer s perspective Secondly, a quality assessment is compassionate and it does not seek to find fault, but to uplift and genuinely help the writer We no longer need to identify problems, since this does not encourage and promote working towards becoming a better writer And lastly, a quality assessment should be useful Makes sense, right Teachers and state assessors shouldn t always be using student writing for data purposes, but for the sake of the writer The purpose of assessment should be to help students identify their needs and their strengths in which to build upon Often times, students are not aware that they are good at a certain aspect, so helping them to locate this and encouragegreat behavior is the most useful thing we can do As far as feedback to students goes, teachers can develop creative rubrics and checklists with their students, so they can have a better idea as to what we are looking for Then when giving that response to the student, answer passionately with comments and ideas, which will in turn help students to love their work to be less critical of themselves Spandel also mentions that one major goal is to help students learn to assess themselves well, so they can grow and learn from their mistakes I thought it was so endearing to read Samantha Abeel s Open Letter to an Assessor at the end of chapter seven, since it really gave a good perspective about what it was like to receive such feedback Overall it was helpful to read each of the pieces at the end of every chapter, and Spandel gave wonderful insight by having such knowledgeable writers join in her publication Reading this book really helped me to see that I can be an excellent teacher of writing if I put my mind to it I don t have to be fancy about it, or have years and years of experience, but by doing simple things I can completely change the outlook on writing in which my students have Spandel gives encouragement and practical application for being an enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructor, and I am looking forward to putting these ideas into practice


  3. Megan Megan says:

    Read as preparation for Central Utah Writing Project Great read for any teacher looking to improve their writing instruction.


  4. TJ Wilson TJ Wilson says:

    Thoughtful and inspiring A book of often poetic urging to allow students and teachers to become writers inside and outside the classroom.


  5. Rachel Rachel says:

    LOVED IT So many good ideas and strategies to help students with their writing.


  6. Asenath Asenath says:

    If I hadn t been required to read this book, I wouldn t have The whole book was trying to convince me of things I already believed and gave me very few practical things I could actually use in my classroom There were some good ideas like giving your audience something to listen for when you read aloud a piece but not enough to make getting this book worth it I am glad that Ms Spandel wrote this book though, because I agree with her wholeheartedly writing shouldn t just be about boring essa If I hadn t been required to read this book, I wouldn t have The whole book was trying to convince me of things I already believed and gave me very few practical things I could actually use in my classroom There were some good ideas like giving your audience something to listen for when you read aloud a piece but not enough to make getting this book worth it I am glad that Ms Spandel wrote this book though, because I agree with her wholeheartedly writing shouldn t just be about boring essays etc etc.Overall, not a bad book, but if you already believe in implement these rights in your instruction, it s not useful


  7. Brian Brian says:

    This was a very inspiring book for any teacher of writing While Spandel states much of the obvious in the sense that all of her points are logical and make sense, she articulates points that often go overlooked By putting the nine rights of every writer to the forefront, Spandel provides a strong set of criteria for what writing in the classroom should look like.


  8. Kasey Kasey says:

    I loved Vicki s voice throughout this book She gives wonderful ideas for what writing instruction should include My only criticism is that I wish she could have givenconcrete examples of how to do this with students.


  9. jacky jacky says:

    I really like this book I don t teach must creative writing, but this book has a lot that applies to all writing and it has really gotten me thinking about how I teach writing Each chapter has the author s experiences, samples of writer work, and advice for teachers.


  10. Erika Forth Erika Forth says:

    This was a good book for reminding us some of the rights we must honor for students in our classroom This isof a book to read once to remind yourself of these things nothing that you can practically apply right away.