Educator Book Reviews

Educator Book Review: Nonfiction Writing Power


Nonfiction Writing Power
By Adrienne Gear
Published by Pembroke Publishers
Category: Professional Development, Writing, ELA

Reviewed by Gina Vigna,
Educator, Calgary Catholic School Board


Nonfiction Writing Power is a book I would highly recommend to colleagues and administrators as a valuable resource to support primarily Language Arts programs. This powerful resource models the importance of writing with intent and purpose and truly guides the educator by providing practical guidelines and strategies to allow them to successfully deliver innovative techniques to their students. The book is well-written and the guided lessons on how to develop writing with intent and purpose are provided in a very easy-to-follow format. The guidelines and planning pages provided within this professional development resource can easily be utilized within a Division Two classroom (Grades 4-6) and to an extent, can be modified and implemented at the Junior High level. The ideas discussed within the resource are multi-faceted and easily adapted to a wide-range of subject areas, particularly in the areas of Science and Social Studies.

The sidebar notes/quotes in the resource are very effective and allow the teacher to quickly reference key points made on a particular page. The resource provides great thought-provoking questions about writing and provides detailed insightful answers that help teachers try to overcome the many challenges faced today while striving to provide a quality writing program. Although I am a seasoned teacher of 33 years, I am constantly searching for new ideas and ways to inspire students to write. The drawer analogy, as an example, is a very effective visual that I would definitely use in my Grade 4 classroom. The sandwich analogy is similar to one I use and is also a very effective visual. It is my belief that these techniques will be well-received by students and will enhance any teacher-student writing conferences. The “Nonfiction Triple-Scoop Word Chart” is yet another example of a very useful technique that can easily be used within the classroom to enhance students’ writing power. “How to Drive your Teacher Coconuts,” is an example of a fun, highly motivating activity that I would not hesitate to use, to teach students how to write instructions.

I welcome the emphasis placed on literature, as it has been my experience that using a variety of books to model structure is very effective. The names of the many anchor books that can be used within the elementary classroom, is appreciated and allows opportunities for conversations to purchase some of these books for the school libraries.

The multitude of diverse forms of writing and step-by-step guidelines for enhancing these forms, discussed in Adrienne Gear’s professional resource, will be a welcome resource for both teachers and administrators alike.

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