National Writing Project

Purposeful Writing: Genre Study in the Secondary Writing Workshop

Date: January 28, 2009

Summary: NWP's For Your Bookshelf audio series talks to Tracy Rosewarne and Rebecca Sipe of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project about their book Purposeful Writing: Genre Study in the Secondary Writing Workshop.


In this interview, Rebecca Sipe and Tracy Rosewarne of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project discuss how they came to write their book Purposeful Writing: Genre Study in the Secondary Writing Workshop (see sidebar to listen). Purposeful Writing takes readers into a writing workshop where genre study becomes a framework for engaging students and teaching a wide range of genres in a diverse high school classroom.

In Purposeful Writing you'll find:

  • instructions on establishing workshop community and using writing workshop as a framework for learning
  • strategies to build community and also individual writing confidence within genres
  • descriptions of nonfiction units—complete with full lesson plans, student work, and rubrics
  • techniques for assessment, evaluation, and conferencing

Excerpt from Purposeful Writing

Too often, I fear that writing in school fails to account for the crucial need authors have for purpose and relevance, and that without these, writing itself may seem only an academic exercise for young adults, an exercise unworthy of much effort or concern. The disconnect that many students feel for school-sponsored writing reinforces their sense that school-based writing is an academic exercise, one for which learning formulaic patterns for sentence and paragraph placement is what writing is all about. If young adults are to develop writing identities and a sense of the importance of their words, ideas, and opinions, they need more than a formula.

Sipe and Rosewarne have worked together on numerous presentations and workshops, and in addition to this book, also coauthored They Still Can't Spell?: Understanding and Supporting Challenged Spellers in Middle and High School .

Sample Chapter from the Book

PDF Download "Teaching Through Self-Selected Reading and Writing Experiences"

Related Resource Topics

© 2023 National Writing Project