Readings for Writing Instructors

Readings for Writing Instructors


An Introduction to Teaching Writing Handbook
This handbook includes sample sylllabi, assignments, and suggestions for how to approach the teaching of various writing projects.

Chapters from the Writing Teacher’s Companion

Rai Peterson’s The Writing Teacher’s Companion is everything the new composition instructor or teaching assistant needs to know, in a compact, affordable book. The book covers every aspect of teaching a course, from preparing a syllabus and promoting class discussion to evaluating papers, managing peer groups, and teaching the writing process. Peterson surveys the many methods of teaching, including portfolio assessment, collaborative writing, and computer-based writing.Click the links below for useful sample chapters from The Writing Teacher’s Companion.

Chapter 4
Course Grading

Chapter 5
Essay Marking

Chapter 6
Essay Grading


Reading an ESL Writer’s Text


Teaching Academic Writing
General introduction to some of the key methods for and core issues related to teaching composition courses at the college level

Why Teach Digital Writing?
Excellent introduction to and rationale for teaching digital writing

National Writing Project Teacher Research/Inquiry

David Bartholomae’s Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts
An introduction to methods and approaches for  teaching “basic writing”

Kenneth Bruffee’s A Short Course in Writing
An excellent book about teaching writing at CUNY

John C. Bean’s Engaging Ideas

Kenneth Burke on Rhetoric and Composition


Never Mind the Trees:  What An English Teacher Really Needs to Know About Linguistics

Grammar, Grammars and the Teaching of Grammar by Patrick Hartwell



David Olsen’s The World on Paper: Conceptual Implications of Reading and Writing


Why Teach Research as a Conversation in Freshman Composition Courses? by P.S. McMillen and E. Hill


NCTESeries Editor: Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University

The NCTE on WAC series offers open-access digital editions of leading books on WAC published by the National Council of Teachers of English. Some of the books in this series also appear in our Landmark Publications in Writing Studies series. Many of the books found in this series can be purchased in print editions through NCTE.

Alternatives to Grading Student WritingAlternatives to Grading Student Writing

Edited by Stephen Tchudi

Evaluating a student’s progress as a writer requires striking a delicate balance between the student’s needs and the school’s needs. This collection of essays offers several innovative options, concluding with ideas for formulating plans of action for introducing grading alternatives in classrooms, schools, and districts…. More More

Border TalkBorder Talk: Writing and Knowing in the Two-Year College

By Howard B. Tinberg

Tinberg offers an ethnographic account of a diverse group of community college faculty working together to revise their writer center’s tutor protocols and expecations for student writing. In doing so, he takes postsecondary writing to the place he refers to as the “border”—the sometimes conflicted space occupied by the two year college, between high schools and universities, between academia and the workplace…. More More

Designing Writing AssignmentsDesigning Writing Assignments

By Traci Gardner

In this book, Traci Gardner offers practical ways for teachers to develop assignments that will allow students to express their creativity and grow as writers and thinkers while still addressing the many demands of resource-stretched classrooms. This book includes dozens of starting points that teachers can customize and further develop for the students in their own classrooms…. More More

ECACElectronic Communication Across the Curriculum

Edited by Donna Reiss, Dickie Selfe, and Art Young

This edited collection offers 24 essays that explore “electronic communication across the curriculum,” an area of increasing importance in WAC and CAC research, practice, and program design. The contributors to this volume consider the implications of ECAC for academic programs, initiatives, and individual courses…. More More

Grammar Alive!Grammar Alive! A Guide for Teachers

By Brock Haussamen with Amy Benjamin, Martha Kolln, Rebecca S. Wheeler, and members of NCTE’s Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar

This volume provides a valuable resource for K–college teachers who wonder what to do about grammar—how to teach it, how to apply it, how to learn what they themselves were never taught. Grammar Alive! offers teachers ways to negotiate the often conflicting goals of testing, confident writing, the culturally inclusive classroom, and the teaching of Standard English while also honoring other varieties of English …. More More

The High School Writing CenterThe High School Writing Center: Establishing and Maintaining One

Edited by Pamela B. Farrell (Childers)

This collection of twenty-two articles provides practical information on establishing a writing center and monitoring its daily operation…. More More

How Writing Shapes ThinkingHow Writing Shapes Thinking: A Study of Teaching and Learning

By Judith A. Langer and Arthur N. Applebee

In this groundbreaking study, Langer and Applebee analyzed writing assignments and their teaching across the curriculum in U.S. secondary schools to see how they support learning. “To improve the teaching of writing, particularly in the context of academic tasks,” they argue, “is also to improve the quality of thinking required of school children.”… More More

In the Long RunIn the Long Run: A Study of Faculty in Three Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs

By Barbara E. Walvoord, Linda Lawrence Hunt, H. Fil Dowling Jr., Joan D. McMahon, with contributions by Virginia Slachman and Lisa Udel

Designed to allow teachers immersed in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs and those still contemplating increasing the use of writing in their courses to peer into classrooms of those who have participated in such programs for years, this book reports on the long-term impact of WAC programs on faculty…. More More

LAC in the Elementary GradesLanguage Across the Curriculum in the Elementary Grades

By Christopher Thaiss

In Language Across the Curriculum in the Elementary Grades, Christopher Thaiss explores the use of writing in classrooms from grades one through six. Drawing on first-hand observations of classrooms, interviews with teachers, and analysis of student work, he argues that “language across the curriculum is something that happens continuously in classrooms and in homes and on playgrounds, whether we wish it to or not…. More More

Language ConnectionsLanguage Connections: Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum

Edited by Toby Fulwiler and Art Young

Language Connections, originally published by NCTE in 1982, focuses on general language skills teachers in all disciplines can use “to enhance student learning and, at the same time, reinforce the more specific language skills taught by reading, writing and speech teachers” (ix)…. More More

Rehearsing New RolesRehearsing New Roles: How College Students Develop as Writers

By Lee Ann Carroll

In this book, Lee Ann Carroll argues for a developmental perspective to counter the fantasy held by many college faculty that students should, or could, be taught to write once so that ever after, they can write effectively on any topic, any place, any time. Carroll demonstrates why a one- or two-semester, first-year course in writing cannot meet all the needs of even more experienced writers. She then shows how students’ complex literacy skills …. More More

Roots in the SawdustRoots in the Sawdust: Writing to Learn Across the Disciplines

By Anne Ruggles Gere

In this collection, editor Anne Ruggles Gere offers a response to Arthur N. Applebee’s call for “more situations in which writing can serve as a tool for learning rather than as a means to display acquired knowledge” (1982)…. More More

Standards for the Assessment of Reading and WritingStandards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing, Revised Edition

By the Joint Task Force on Assessment of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English

With this updated document, NCTE and IRA reaffirm their position that the primary purpose of assessment must be to improve teaching and learning for all students. Eleven core standards are presented and explained, and a helpful glossary makes this document suitable not only for educators but for parents, policymakers, school board members, and other stakeholders. Case studies of large-scale national tests and …. More More

Thinking and WritingThinking and Writing in College: A Naturalistic Study of Students in Four Disciplines

By Barbara E. Walvoord and Lucille Parkinson McCarthy, in collaboration with Virginia Johnson Anderson, John R. Breihan, Susan Miller Robison, and A. Kimbrough Sherman

This groundbreaking book reports the results of a seven-year study in which six teacher-researchers worked together to inquire into the thinking and writing of college students. The study offers a model of collaborative, naturalistic classroom research that not only allowed the investigators to investigate how students thought and wrote, but also to reflect on teacher growth and change over the course of the study…. More More

WAC for the New MillenniumWAC for the New Millennium: Strategies for Continuing Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs

Edited by Susan H. McLeod, Eric Miraglia, Margot Soven, and Christopher Thaiss

In this edited collection, the editors and contributors consider strategies for continuing WAC programs in an atmosphere of change; explore new avenues of collaboration, such as service learning and the linked-course curricula of learning communities; predict areas into which WAC programs need to move; and suggest new directions for research on writing across the curriculum …. More More

What is "College Level" Writing?What is “College-Level” Writing?

Edited by Patrick Sullivan and Howard Tinberg

Just what defines “college-level” writing? This book seeks to engage this essential question with care, patience, and pragmatism, and includes contributions by many well-known scholars such as Edward M. White, Lynn Z. Bloom, Ronald Lunsford, Sheridan Blau, Jeanne Gunner, Muriel Harris, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. This edited collection offers perspectives from …. More More