In the Middle: A Lifetime of Learning about Writing, Reading, and Adolescents

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Heinemann, Nov 5, 2014 - Education - 629 pages

"The third edition of In the Middle is my invitation to English teachers, both veterans and novices, to understand writing and reading from the inside and recognize our potential to influence our students' literacy for a lifetime. Like the two that preceded it, this edition represents my current best set of blueprints for how I build and maintain a writing-reading workshop-the expectations, demonstrations, models, choices, resources, rules and rituals, pieces of advice, words of caution, and ways of thinking, planning, looking, and talking that make it possible for every student to read with understanding and pleasure and aspire to and produce effective writing."

-Nancie Atwell

With 80 percent new material, In the Middle, Third Edition brings Nancie Atwell's methods up to date. Nancie guides newcomers to a rich, satisfying practice while sharing her latest innovations and refinements with those who have made In the Middle their teaching touchstone.

Grounded in her classroom practice and in response to questions and requests from twenty years of professional development workshops, Nancie provides:

  • detailed procedures for organizing the classroom for workshop teaching and a first-week launch sequence
  • hundreds of minilessons and reproducibles that make workshop teaching inviting and doable
  • hundreds of new pieces of student writing to use as mentor texts-many are national prize winners
  • new, detailed genre studies of poetry, memoirs, reviews, essays, reportage, humor and homage, and short fiction
  • a new look at writing conferences, including red flags to notice and strategies for responding to them
  • techniques for conferring with individuals about the books they're reading
  • a revamping of her widely-adopted literary letters as letter-essays that more than satisfy today's standards for critical reading

This is the chronicle of Nancie Atwell's courageous, compelling journey. Just as the second edition documented her evolution from 1987, this book shows how she continues to shape and refine her teaching, based on her perceptions of what students need and her growing knowledge of literature and the craft of writing. As Nancie describes it, "The third edition of In the Middle is everything I've learned over the past three decades that makes writing-reading workshop the only logical way to teach English."

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About the author (2014)

Nancie Atwell is one of the most respected educators in the U.S. and across the world. Winner of the Varkey Foundation's inaugural Global teacher Prize, she donated the $1 million award to the Center for Teaching and Learning, the K-8 demonstration school she founded in Edgecomb, Maine, in 1990. Nancie's classic In the Middle, now in its third edition, has inspired generations of teachers; in it she describes her teaching journey and the practices she developed that led to her nomination. Thomas Newkirk calls In the Middle "the greatest book on literacy teaching ever written in this country." Visit for more about the book and Nancie. A middle school English teacher for almost forty years, Nancie is also the first classroom teacher to be awarded the NCTE David H. Russell Award and the MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize, both for distinguished research in the teaching of English. She was also honored as NCTE's Outstanding Middle School English Teacher and as the River of Words Poetry Teacher of the Year. She has received honorary doctoral degrees from Middlebury College and the University of New Hampshire. Nancie's books for Heinemann include Systems to Transform Your Classroom and School, which takes teachers inside her award-winning school to learn about the innovations that make the biggest impact on achievement and community; Lessons That Change Writers, a year's worth of instruction straight from Nancie's file cabinets; and Naming the World: A Year of Poems and Lessons, which helps teachers to jumpstart their teaching of writing and literature each day by unpacking a poem with their students. Her DVDs Writing in the Middle and Reading in the Middle give teachers a seat in her workshop as she presents lessons and conducts conferences that transform her students' literacy - and their lives.

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