National Writing Project

Transforming Talk into Text: Argument Writing, Inquiry, and Discussion, Grades 6-12

Thomas M. McCann

List price: $31.95
NWP's Price: $23.96

Author Thomas McCann invites readers to rethink their approach to teaching writing by capitalizing on students' instinctive desire to talk. Drawing on extensive classroom research, he shows teachers how to craft class discussions that build students' skills of analysis, problem-solving, and argumentation as a means of improving student writing. McCann demonstrates how authentic discussions immerse learners in practices that become important when they write. Chapters feature portraits of teachers at work, including transcripts that reveal patterns of talk across a set of lessons. Interviews with the teachers and samples of student writing afford readers a deeper understanding of process. Students also report on how classroom discussions supported their effort to produce persuasive, argument-driven essays.


"In this important book, Tom McCann has given us not only the admonition to change, but the details about what effective change must be and what it looks like, evidence that it works effectively, and details about how to bring it to pass."
— From the Foreword by George Hillocks, Jr., professor emeritus, department of English, University of Chicago
"For a professional book to have an impact on the field, it needs to address a perceived need. Writing arguments for Common Core performance assessments is a HUGE need right now that this book helps address."
Carl Jago, associate director, California Reading and Literature Project, UCLA

About the Author
Thomas M. McCann is associate professor of English at Northern Illinois University.

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