Teachers College Press 
 









Real World Writing for Secondary Students
Teaching the College Admission Essay and Other Gate-Openers for Higher Education

Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta
Foreword by Charles Bazerman
Language & Literacy
Pub Date: November 2012, 144 pages

Paperback: $28.95, ISBN: 0807753866
Cloth: $69.00, ISBN: 0807753874
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“In this important book, Jessica Early and Meredith DeCosta describe a readily replicable set of activities that provides motivated, meaningful opportunities for writing development and helps potential first-generation higher education students gain university admission.” —From the Foreword by Charles Bazerman, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California Santa Barbara

“This is a book about opening doors, about demystifying writing tasks that can keep many students on the outside. The authors take on a major writing challenge—the college application essay—and through careful instruction help students use their real life stories to master it. It is teaching at its best, and democracy at its best.” —Thomas Newkirk, University of New Hampshire

"This groundbreaking book has the best qualities of an exemplary research study while also providing us with a handbook of practical wisdom and engaging lessons for teaching writing to a diverse population of secondary students. It is certain to inspire and instruct all English teachers and composition researchers who care about helping traditionally marginalized and underprepared students discover and demonstrate that they are qualified to enter college.”
Sheridan Blau, Teachers College, Columbia University

One of the most important ways to scaffold a successful transition from high school to college is to teach real-world, gate-opening writing genres, such as college admission essays. This book describes a writing workshop for ethnically and linguistically diverse high school students, where students receive instruction on specific genre features of the college admission essay. The authors present both the theoretical grounding and the concrete strategies teachers crave, including an outline of specific workshop lessons, teaching calendars, and curricular suggestions. This text encourages secondary teachers to think of writing as a vital tool for all students to succeed academically and professionally.

Appropriate for courses and teacher professional development, this accessible book:

  • Reconceptualizes the ways in which writing can best serve marginalized students.
  • Examines research-based curricular and teaching approaches for the secondary school classroom.
  • Provides a writing workshop framework for creating a college admissions essay complete with lesson-planning materials, activities, handouts, bibliographic resources, and more.
  • Includes student perspectives and work samples, offering insight into the lives and struggles of diverse adolescents.

Jessica Singer Early is an assistant professor of English Education in the Department of English at Arizona State University and the director of the Central Arizona Writing Project. Meredith DeCosta is a teaching fellow of the Louisville Writing Project who has also taught writing courses at Arizona State University and English language arts at the high school level.


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