Phenomenal Review: Building Better Writers

Last month, I received an advanced reader copy of “Building Better Writers”  by Natalia Heckman, a Seidlitz Education consultant. In the offering, she provides practical writing instruction to teachers of Emergent Bilingual, ESL, and traditional students. 

I poured through the resource in two weeks…highlighting and making notes. After finishing it, I’d like to provide insight into why you should purchase Building Better Writers. 

1. Readability: The first thing that struck was the book’s readability. It’s a high-level resource that’s digestible for the novice teacher but practical for the expert teacher. As you can see in the picture above, Heckman clearly diagrams a sentence…explaining the importance of syntax in a sentence.

2. Follows Logical Progression: One of the things that I love about Building Better Writers is the book follows a progression to the writing process from sentence to composition with ideas and strategies to properly teach each component. 

3. Phenomenal Strategies: Building Better Writers is littered with easy-to-use, high-outcome strategies, which will improve any ELA(English/Language Arts) teacher’s instruction and engage students. 

Here are a few.

A. Cohesive Tie Strategy(Pictured Above): Good writers never use the same word twice unless it’s for effect but Heckman’s supplies a sound strategy to teach it to students. 

B. Sentence Live: For this routine, students race to build a sentence using tiles. This strategy fosters collaboration, scaffolds instruction and increases engagement. 

C. Attack The Prompt: With this strategy, students use a three-step process of annotating a writing to determine the purpose for writing. I found this routine particularly timely with Extended Constructed Responses becoming a Texas S.T.A.A.R. (State Assessment) expectation from 3rd-8th grade. 

If you’re a new teacher, one with a few years of experience, or the resolute veteran, Building Better Writers will help you enhance your practice and transform your writing instruction. 

Rating: 10/10(Phenomenal)

Be Phenomenal, Mr. Short

Published by Jeremiah Short

My name is Jeremiah Short, and I'm a educator with nine years of experience. I love to teach and the overall craft of the profession. I've written two books(As I Took My Walk With God Volumes I and II) and have one resource: Phenomenal Intervention: The Playbook. In addition to writing books, I've created several instructional routines: Phenomenal Word Power, T.I.D.E., Bloom's Units: Reading and The Phenomenal Classroom.

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