Empowering Writers

Toolbox: Recommended Reading

Would you like to improve your writing instruction? Would you like proven strategies that work in the real world of the classroom? Empowering Writers provides articles on the best practices for writing instruction and practical information for improving your students’ writing.

Recommended Reading


how to teach narrative and expository voice in writing

The 2 Voices in Writing and How to Teach Them

By Barbara Mariconda We’ve all heard teachers talk about “voice” – how a piece of writing somehow has it – or doesn’t. Often referred to as “author’s voice, it is a frequently misunderstood concept, an illusive quality that often seems difficult, if not impossible to teach. In fact, some people feel that authors are either […]



5 Tips to Improve Writing to Literary Analysis Tasks

In order for students to respond effectively to 21st century literary analysis tasks and response to text challenges, we must use every reading experience as an opportunity for close reading, and assist them in deconstructing texts to glean deeper meaning. Here are five tips that will help make every reading experience a pre-writing experience, and vice versa. 1) […]


5 Questions to Assess Your Writing Instruction

Now that we know what the new standards are and have seen the assessment, we have a better understanding of what’s required from our students in the area of writing. The question now becomes, does our writing instruction provide everything our students need to be successful? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself: 21st century […]


If you can’t say it, you can’t write it!

I love all things Italian – the food, the country itself, the people, the music, the melodic sound of the language. The only Italian thing I’m not too crazy about is my ex-husband, but that has not colored the water on the rest! In fact, after several trips to Italy I decided to learn the […]


7 Critical questions for directed reading

7 Critical Questions for Directed Reading

I have a confession to make – I hate football. I know it’s un-American; in fact it’s almost sacrilege. But every time I try to sit and watch with a good friend of mine, I get bored, antsy, impatient. I sigh and look at my watch. This past fall I suffered through a few games. […]


Taking Advantage of the Reading / Writing Connection

At a recent writing workshop, one participant raised her hand. “You know”, she said, “I love all of these techniques. I’m sure my students could really excel with them. But, here’s the reality – after all the time we spend on reading, there’s just not enough left for adequately teaching writing.” A lot of heads […]


Writing Instruction for Special Needs Students

Pencils incessantly tapping on desks, feet swishing back and forth, bodies in constant motion… fidget, wiggle, and squirm… Writing time for a special education student can be less than productive – and extremely frustrating. Just putting their name on the paper can often be considered an achievement for an LD student or one who has […]


What is Narrative Writing?

Teaching Narrative Writing What exactly is narrative writing? What specific skills are involved in teaching narrative writing? What can we expect in narrative writing from student authors? How can parents help in the process? What exactly is narrative writing? Narrative writing…you’ve heard the term, you’re expected to teach your students how to write a narrative […]


Types of Narratives

Types of Narratives There are many variations or subgenres under the umbrella of “narrative writing.” Folk tales, fairy tales, fables, tall tales, realistic fiction, fantasy, memoirs – to name just a few. While all of these are characterized by particular unique characteristics and patterns, they all can be grouped under broader categories that are helpful […]


Expository Writing

What exactly is expository/informational writing? Expository writing comes in a variety of forms, but, in general it is factual writing for the purpose of informing others: * The straight information report * A how-to piece * Compare/contrast writing * Even biography is considered expository writing Because the purpose of expository writing is to inform an […]


Author’s Group Model

Where would I be without my Writer’s Group? Alone in my office in my pajamas, probably, which is where I spend most of my work days. This an occupational hazard of being a novelist. The antidote to this professional solitude is the Writer’s Group. I have been meeting with my own Literary Consortium (read that: […]