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A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Grades 6–12, Revised Edition

Richard Kent

A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Grades 612, Revised Edition is a how-to and, ultimately, a why-to book for middle school and high school educators as well as for English/language arts teacher candidates and their methods instructors. This revised and updated International Writing Centers Association 2006 Book of the Year shows writing centers as places where writers work with each other in an effort to develop ideas, discover a thesis, overcome procrastination, create an outline, or revise a draft. Ultimately, writing centers help students become more effective writers. Visit any college or university in the United States and chances are there is a writing center available to students, staff, and community members. Writing centers support students and busy teachers while emphasizing and supporting writing across the curriculum.


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Chapter 1: Introduction


· 1 · introduction A Day in the Life of a Writing Center It’s 7:30 in the morning and two bleary-eyed 9th grade girls peek around the doorframe. Tabitha, the writing center student on duty, smiles. She figures the girls are from Mr. St. John’s class—all of his students are writing multigenre papers this month and must bring the papers in for a conference. At 7:38, Jeff and Lindy arrive to help with two more of Mr. St. John’s students. Housed in the library/media center, the writing center at Mountain Valley High School creates lots of extra traffic, but Mr. Sassi, the library/media center specialist, and his assistant, Linda Worthing, love the comings and goings. Most of all, they enjoy sneaking glimpses of kids working with kids. During first period, Dustin swaggers in. The first draft of his reading auto- biography is due on Friday—it’s Wednesday. “I don’t have a clue what to write,” he moans. To get to know him, Marcy chats a bit with Dustin. Then, she reads the teacher’s assignment to get a sense of the paper’s requirements. Finally, she suggests, “Let’s make a list of things that you’ve read in your life.” She helps him create a list, including snowboard magazines, comics, and a weekly mag- azine that has ads to sell everything; he’s also reminded of the picture books 2 a guide to creating student-staffed writing centers his mom read to him when he was younger. In fifteen minutes Dustin is on his...

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