National Writing Project

Composing Science: A Facilitator's Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom

Leslie Atkins Elliott, Kim Jaxon, and Irene Salter

List Price $32.95
NWP's Price $24.71

Offering expertise in the teaching of writing (Kim Jaxon) and the teaching of science (Leslie Atkins Elliott and Irene Salter), this book will help instructors create classrooms in which students use writing to learn and think scientifically. The authors provide concrete approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing plays in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas, as opposed to replicating the polished academic writing of research scientists. Addressing a range of genres that can help students deepen their scientific reasoning and inquiry, this text includes activities, guidelines, resources, and assessment suggestions. Composing Science is a valuable resource for university-level science faculty, science methods course instructors in teacher preparation programs, and secondary science teachers who have been asked to address the Common Core ELA Standards.

Book Features:

  • Provides models for integrating writing into science courses and lesson plans.
  • Focuses on the work that science writing does, both in the development and dissemination of ideas.
  • Addresses the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core ELA Standards.
  • Includes samples of student work, classroom transcripts, and photographs that capture the visual elements of science writing.


"The pedagogy described in Composing Science doesn't only recapture the sense of the uncertainty of discovery, it also articulates and examines the social and collaborative writing practices that science uses to produce knowledge and reduce uncertainty. Without question, teachers of science will find this book inspirational and useful, college teachers for sure, but also teachers up and down the curriculum."
—Tom Fox, director, Site Development, National Writing Project

"This book will be invaluable, not only for the genuinely new and wonderful ideas for teaching, but also and maybe more for the rich examples from the authors' classes. Through the lens of writing we see students doing science—and it is truly science—in surprising and delightful ways."
—David Hammer, professor, Tufts University

"In prose that is clear and straightforward, the authors help science faculty consider the roles of writing in science, and how to make writing in the science classroom align better with those roles. I will use this book in my own faculty development program, and will recommend it wholeheartedly to my science colleagues."
—Elizabeth Wardle, professor, Miami University

"Composing Science illuminates both writing pedagogy and the teaching and learning of science. Its primary strength is that it practices what it teaches, demonstrating chapter after chapter of carefully scaffolded classroom activities to engage students in doing the work of science and scientific writing. This book is essential reading for teachers and administrators at every level involved in writing-across-the-curriculum initiatives. While its focus is the integration of writing into science education, its practices are applicable to every discipline."
—R. Mark Hall, director, University Writing Center, University of Central Florida

About the Authors:
Leslie Atkins Elliott is an associate professor in Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies at Boise State University.
Kim Jaxon is an associate professor of English at California State University, Chico, and was awarded the 2014 Teacher of Excellence-College Award by the California Association of Teachers of English.
Irene Salter taught middle school science and math and is currently the principal of Chrysalis Charter School in California.

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