Some of you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my friend Patricia had just published her first book. Workshops Work! A Parent's Guide to Facilitating Writer's Workshops for Kids is a remarkably well-done and tightly woven how-to manual for parents (and in my opinion, teachers as well) who are looking to teach writing through the use of workshops. And, after having spent some time reading and rereading Patricia's book, I will say this: if you are a homeschooling parent and have hopes of raising a writer, this is one book that you absolutely need to have on your shelf.
Workshops Work! begins at the obvious beginning, and at the place where so many other books on teaching through workshops unfortunately end: by explaining what they are and how to set them up. However, Workshops Work! continues on from there, going through the nuts and bolts of running a workshop on an ongoing basis and having it be a functional, important and enjoyable part of the educational process for parent and child alike. Patricia does an excellent job of laying out the workshopping process from beginning to end, and writes with a clarity and sense of organization that enables the reader to truly envision how writer's workshops could become a sustainable part of a family's educational routine. Plus, she spends time addressing important issues such as giving feedback and drawing in reluctant writers, giving the book a sense of being incredibly practical and useful. Those who have read other manuals on various aspects of education and felt that they were all theory and no practice will find Patricia's book refreshing in every way. Patricia writes like a writer, and this makes it so much easier to trust in her experience and to feel open to her advice on writing. She knows what she's talking about and you can feel it in every paragraph.
Indeed, when I first read through Patricia's book, my first thought was about how different it was from other educational theory books that I have read, both as a graduate student and as a teacher. Because really, although Workshops Work! has sound educational philosophy at its core, it is not really a book about the theory of writing. It is a book about the practice of writing, and about how parents can raise talented, passionate and skilled writers who will become lifelong lovers of the purpose, and ultimately, the craft of writing. My immediate next thought when reading this book? It is absolutely indispensible for anyone working to help children become enthusiastic writers.
You can purchase copies of the book from Patricia via her website here. I have a PDF copy of the book myself, but am planning to get a print copy as well so that I can write in the margins, add sticky notes where needed and tuck bookmarks into important sections.
I'm also happy to say that Patricia is offering three Bird and Little Bird readers the eBook/PDF version of her book. Recipients will receive three files: a .mobi file and a .epub file for reading the book on Kindle, Nook and other e-readers, as well as iPads and other devices, and a PDF file for reading the book on computer and for printing. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winners on Friday afternoon and notify them via email.
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