National Writing Project

Resource Topics

Teaching Writing - Writing Processes - Prewriting

Additional Resources

Lifebook Journals Help Students Write Fluently

May 2008
Tricia Hall
A teacher inspires her second grade students to write by having them keep "Lifebooks" modeled after Marissa Moss' Amelia's Notebook. They love it, and their entries later become the bases of longer pieces. More ›

They Have to See It to Write It: Visualization and the Reading-Writing Connection

November 2007
Elizabeth Dinkins
Frustrated by her students’ reluctance to write, a seventh-grade teacher shows them how to “see” what they’re reading and draw what they want to write about—and they begin to think like writers. More ›

Book Review: The Muses Among Us, by Kim Stafford

The Quarterly, 2004
Richard Louth
Richard Louth reviews The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft, an autobiographical collection of essays by and about the writing life by Kim Stafford. More ›

Learning a Lesson from The Girls Who Write Notes

The Quarterly, 2004
Janis Cramer
When the top scorers on the writing assessment were the girls who wrote long notes to boyfriends, Cramer created a journaling program in which students wrote without being graded, chose their topics, and collaboratively revised. More ›

A Place for Talk in a Writers' Workshop

The Quarterly, Fall 2001
Erin (Pirnot) Ciccone
When fifth grade teacher Erin Ciccone tries to replace her Monday morning "gab sessions" with "serious work," she realizes that these sessions are necessary components for leading students to strong writing. More ›

The Writer's Eye: Using the Writer's Notebook as a Lens to View the World

The Quarterly, Spring 2000
Scott Peterson
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You Know More than You Think You Do: A New Look at "Write What You Know"

The Quarterly, Summer 1997
Mark Farrington
The writer shows a way that a visualization exercise can help writers respond to the perennial writing advice: Write what you know. More ›

Choice in the Writing Class: How Do Students Decide What to Write and How to Write It?

The Quarterly, Spring 1995
Susan Hunt
Susan Hunt examines the topics that her high school students choose to write about. She observes and categorizes the differences in topics chosen by male versus female students, noting the sociologically determined roles that play a part in their views of the world. She shares her thoughts on the meaning of the students' choices in terms of what the students need to be taught. More ›

TR 34. Planning in Writing: The Cognition of a Constructive Process

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, July 1989
Linda J. Carey, Christina Haas, John R. Hayes, Karen A. Schriver, Linda Flower
This paper describes the process adult writers bring to ill-defined expository tasks such as writing essays, articles, reports, and proposals, and presents a theory of constructive planning based on analyses of expert and novice writers. More ›

TR 35. Differences in Writers' Initial Task Representations

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, July 1989
Linda J. Carey, Linda Flower, Christina Haas, John R. Hayes, Karen A. Schriver
This exploratory study investigates how writers represent their task to themselves before beginning to write. More ›

TR 25. Elaboration: Using What You Know

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
Victoria Stein
This report provides a look at the process of elaboration that allows students to use prior knowledge, not only for comprehension and critical thinking, but also for structuring and planning their papers. More ›

TR 27. Translating Context into Action

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, May 1989
John Ackerman
This report describes the initial reading strategies nearly every freshman in Ackerman's study used. From this point, students then had to construct a solution path that may or may not have used this initial approach. More ›

TR 16. How the Writing Context Shapes College Students' Strategies for Writing from Sources

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, August 1988
John R. Hayes, Jennie Nelson
This study explores processes college students use to write assigned research papers. More ›

There's No Such Thing as Writer's Block; (Or If There Is, Some Suggestions for Dissolving It)

The Quarterly, January 1983
Cherryl Armstrong
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Dialogue and Composition

The Quarterly, December 1978
Gordon Pradl
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