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Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning

101 Lessons & Mentor Texts--Narrative, Opinion/Argument, & Informative/Explanatory, Grades 4-9
By: Gretchen Bernabei, Judi Reimer

Foreword by Barry Lane

If ever there were a book to increase students’ test scores, this is it. Its 101 student essays and one-page lessons deliver powerhouse instruction on writing well in any genre.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452268613
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 264
  • Publication date: July 31, 2013

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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Sometimes a student’s best teacher is another student

Just as the pressure for students to perform well on state assessments escalates ever higher, and the call to raise students’ achievement in narrative, opinion/argument , and informative/explanatory writing grows louder, Gretchen Bernabei and Judi Reimer publish Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning. If ever there were a book to answer every need, this is it.

You see, Gretchen and Judi have been concerned about adolescents’ writing for years, and they have had amazing success using mentor texts by students to teach the ins and outs of writing in any genre. So with this book, they “hand over their file drawers” and provide you with 101 essays written by students with one-page companion lessons that address text structure, imagery, dialogue, rhetorical devices, grammatical structures, textual blends--all the different tools that writers use.

Organized into three major sections that align with the Common Core, STAAR, and other major state assessments, Fun-Size Academic Writing delivers succinct, powerhouse instruction on topics such as:

• How to choose a structure for argument, informational, or narrative writing
• How to read a piece and extract thesis statement and main points
• How to layer a wide range of details to support points
• How to use rhetorical devices and grammatical constructions for effect
• How to write from the point of view of a fictional character

The essays—also available in reproducible form on the companion website--demonstrate something striking, something imitable, something concrete. They give students a bank of choices to call upon as they write. The lessons are short, practical, and full of variety. Collectively, these essays and lessons have the potential to move the needle on American students’ writing achievement once and for all. They show what has been done by students—and they reveal to you how your own students can do it, too.

Click here for an electronic book tour of Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning.

Key features

  • Features craft lessons covering narrative, expository, and analytical writing
  • Each lesson takes between ten and thirty minutes for students to learn and implement
  • Each lesson follows the same teacher-friendly format, with the essay on the right side and the corresponding craft lesson on the left
  • Includes a writing remediation chart that categorizes each lesson by the problem(s) it addresses (e.g. wordiness, vague writing)


Gretchen Bernabei photo

Gretchen Bernabei

A popular workshop presenter and winner of NCTE’s James Moffett Award in 2010, Gretchen Bernabei has been teaching kids to write in middle school and high school classrooms for more than thirty years. In addition to four other professional books and numerous articles for NCTE journals, she is the author of National Geographic School Publications’ The Good Writer’s Kit, as well as Lightning in a Bottle, a CD of visual writing prompts.
Judi Reimer photo

Judi Reimer

Judi Reimer taught fourth grade in San Antonio, Texas, for seventeen years and continues to advise students and school districts. She has worked as a freelance writer, contributing columns and features for Parents, Ladies’ Home Journal, and other national magazines. Judi has also written articles for Studies Weekly classroom publications and has been a freelance writer for American Legacy Publishing.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Barry Lane



Part I. Narrative

1. Color It Up

2. Sprinkling Writing With Humor

3. Adding Movement and Sound to Animate a Piece

4. Using Asides

5. Combining Rhetorical Devices: Cataloguing and Repetition

6. Using Literary Characters to Write Fiction

7. Using Specific Language From a Special Setting

8. Using Varied Sentence Openers to Create Rhythm and Flow

9. Using Precise Language to Create Visual Snapshots

10. Using Foreshadowing to Create Mood

11. Building Suspense in a Narrative Through Questions and Answers

12. Using Participles and Participial Phrases

13. Using Variety When Introducing Narrator Thoughts

14. Using Metaphor to Illuminate a Life Lesson

15. Writing Observations

16. Adding Rich Dialogue to a Narrative

17. Writing From the Point of View of a Fictional Character

18. Using Variations of "Said"

19. Using Depth and Detail to "Explode" a Moment

20. Showing How a Character Changes

21. Using Introspection in a Memoir

22. Using Onomatopoeia as an Organizational Device

23. Using a Story to Illustrate a Life Lesson

24. Combining Action and Back-Story

25. Showing Conflicting Feelings in a Personal Narrative

26. Fleshing Out a Kernel Essay With Dialogue

27. Showing How a Character Makes an Important Decision

28. Choosing Vivid Verbs

29. Writing Dialogue With Inner Reactions

30. Using Time Transitions: Flash Forward

31. Using Absolutes as Sentence Fragments

32. Using Time Transitions: Flashbacks

33. Withholding and Revealing Information to Build Suspense

34. Using Anadiplosis to Make a Truism Chain

35. Using Enumeratio to Add Detail

36. Layering Thinking and Dialogue

37. Using Transitions to Develop a Conclusion

38. Weaving Together Text From Different Genres

Part II. Informative/Explanatory

39. Sharing Culture Through Special Events

40. Explaining a Historical Context

41. Using Compound Predicates in a Series

42. Analyzing Characters by Writing Letters Between Them

43. Tracking a Changing Thought Process

44. Responding to Literature: Questioning the Author (Part I)

45. Responding to Literature: Questioning the Author (Part II)

46. Conversing With an Imagined Listener

47. Explaining a Concept From the Point of View of a Character

48. Writing About Clues That Reveal a Situation

49. Writing a Letter Using Second-Person Point of View

50. Using Personification to Turn an Abstract Concept Into a Colorful Character

51. Writing a Graphic Book Review

52. Analyzing Literature: Focusing on Character Tension

53. Responding to Literature: Characters Conversing About a Problem

54. Analyzing Literature: Identifying Character Conflicts

55. Analyzing Literature: Noticing an Author's Choices

56. Recognizing and Illustrating an Important Theme

57. Analyzing the Rhetorical Effects of Poetic Devices

58. Analyzing a Movie

59. Creating an "All About" Essay

60. Giving Writing Vocal Qualities

61. Using Opinions and Facts When Explaining Something New

62. Defining an Important Concept

63. Writing an Epistolary Essay

64. Moving Between Concrete Details and Abstract Ideas

65. Using Quotations to Support a Thesis in a Literary Essay

66. Writing an Extended Apostrophe

67. Multimedia Analysis of a Literary Theme

Part III. Opinion/Argument

68. Using Facts as Evidence

69. Using Formal Versus Informal Language

70. Writing a Script for a Public Service Announcement

71. Examining Quotations

72. Developing Sentence Variety

73. Using Personal Experiences to Support Opinions

74. Using Verbs and Adjectives to Back Up Opinions

75. Making a Claim About a Historical Event

76. Using Sensory Details

77. Using Parentheses

78. Naming and Renaming

79. Using an Innovative Format

80. Using Internal Citations

81. Drawing Editorial Cartoons

82. Knocking Down the Opposition

83. Using Quirky Mental Images in an Argument

84. Using Question and Answer to Frame an Argument

85. Writing a Letter to Raise Awareness About a Social Problem

86. Using Repetition (Anaphora) for Emphasis and Style

87. Keeping an Argument From Sliding Into a Personal Narrative

88. Creating a Poster for Persuasion

89. Using Analogies to Show, Not Tell

90. Anticipating and Overcoming Objections

91. Anticipating a Reader's Objections

92. Using Hyperbole for Effect

93. Discovering a Problem, Proposing a Solution

94. Weaving Information Into a Persuasive Argument

95. Writing a Descriptive Lead

96. Using Third-Person Examples in an Argument

97. Using Opposites (Antithesis) to Make an Impact

98. Revising an Argument for Length

99. Using the Literary Present Tense to Present an Argument

100. Making Inferences From Pictures

101. Supporting an Argument With Expert Knowledge


Appendix A: 25 Ways to Use Great Student Essays

Appendix B: Text Structures

Appendix C: Lessons by Writing Trait and Level of Difficulty



Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

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