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Bonnie Campbell Hill Award Recipients

2015 WA State Literacy Leader Award
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2015 National Teacher Leader Award
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Citation: Avery, Carol. (2002). (Second Edition). . . . And with a Light Touch: Learning about Reading, Writing and Teaching with First Graders. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Title: . . . And with a Light Touch: Learning about Reading, Writing and Teaching with First Graders
ISBN:
ISBN-13:
Edition: Second Edition
Year: 2002
Publisher: Heinemann
City: Portsmouth, NH
Medium: Book
Author(s): Avery, Carol
Grades: Kindergarten to First Grade
Category: Editing Minilessons Writing Workshop Launching Writing Workshop Teaching the Writing Process Revision Responding to and Publishing Writing
Annotation: Most publishers are moving away from the 500-page books that were so common in the 1990s. ". . . And with a Light Touch: Learning about Reading, Writing and Teaching with First Graders" by Carol Avery is a bit daunting in size, but all first-grade teachers I know who have read it have found it helpful. This second edition of Carol’s book begins with Donald Graves’ introduction in which he says “There aren’t too many texts that follow children from day to day over an entire year as they learn to read and write” (p. vii). She begins with the first day of school and describes how she fosters a sense of community and launches writing workshop. You know she really knows first graders with descriptions such as this one on page 19 about what happened during her minilessons: “While this conversation is going on, the attention of several of the students has drifted off. They unzip and zip again and again the Velcro on their sneakers. They carry on conversations in twos or threes. They play with the long hair of one of the girls. One child has left the rug and wanders around the room.” You know Carol lives in the real world of a first-grade classroom. The book includes sections on establishing writing workshop, minilessons, listening and responding to student writing, sharing during Author’s Chair, and publishing.

Carol goes on to describe how she calls her students the night before school begins to introduce herself and to ask them to bring in a favorite book to share. She explores management challenges, minilessons, sharing, and the writing process. There are transcripts of conversations and advice about how a responsive teacher “allows the child to do the talking in the writing conference. By talking, the child thinks. By thinking, the child develops” (p. 144). She describes how she changed from modeling good questions she hoped that her students would internalize to modeling good listening.” Doriane Marvel, a first grade teacher, writes, “This book is a great tool for a teacher who is interested in implementing writer's workshop for the first time in first grade. It provides a lot of easy-to-implement suggestions on classroom organization and set up.”

Carol Avery understands developmentally appropriate publishing and puts that part of the writing process in her instruction so that children understand the value of sharing their writing. Chapter 9 (”The Process of Publishing”) highlights the process she uses in her first-grade classroom, including the very first publication of the year. Carol shares scripts of publishing conferences she has with individual children, as well as with small groups. She deals with the revising and editing in ways that honor the developmental nature of writing. Carol includes helpful tips on pages 209-211 addressing children’s learning about “how we write” and “good writers . . .” Publishing in kindergarten is also addressed in chapter 17.