National Writing Project

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

Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta (National Writing Project and Teachers College Press, 2012)

List price: $28.95
NWP's Price: $23.00

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. Real World Writing for Secondary Students 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.

Authors Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta 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.

Book Features

  • 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.


"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

About the Authors
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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