4 Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency

Heinemann Educational. Oct. 2021. 184p. pap. $32.50. ISBN 9780325120065.
In this dynamic book, Kittle and Gallagher present four practices to reinvigorate student engagement: essay, poetry, book clubs, and digital composition. The authors lay out a compelling case that well-intentioned formulas and rubrics don’t help students become better writers in the long run. Instead, more reading and writing leads to better reading and writing. Specifically, more writing and exposure to extensive and varied models lead to more engagement and better writing. For instance, exploring poets and poetry gives students more impactful ways to share their ideas and thoughts, and encouraging digital composition connects composition with a format that resonates with them. The authors share specific ideas for teaching each of the four areas that educators across disciplines can implement. Also included are “Last Words,” descriptions of terms and ideas, an extensive bibliography, and online resources.
VERDICT An essential book that belongs in the hands of every teacher, but especially language arts teachers and the librarians who collaborate with them.

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