Do you believe that all students should have opportunities to write in genres of their choice, but aren't sure how to get started?
Today on the podcast, author and editor Katie Wood Ray sits down with Matt Glover to discuss his latest book Craft and Process Studies: Units that Provide Writers with Choice of Genre. In Craft and Process Studies, Matt offers a wide array of units and strategies to fit into your existing curriculum that will raise student engagement and writing proficiency.
Here now is Matt and Katie...
Below is a full transcript of this episode.
Katie: So Matt, it's great to talk to you about the new book. Are you excited about it?
Matt: I am excited about it. It's really nice to have it out. I've been thinking about it and working on it for quite a while, and so it's really nice to finally have it out, and start to see what people think. Especially since I feel in some ways it's swimming upstream against the genre current so I'm interested what people think about it.
Katie: That's an interesting way to put it. Swimming upstream against the genre current which is actually ... I mean that's one of the things I really wanted to ask you about. I know that this book has been living in your thinking for a long time because we've had so many conversations about it. So I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about how it came to be and the need that you have seen out there in your work that this book addresses.
Matt: Yeah. It's interesting how it came about because originally this was going to just be a small chapter in a different book around beliefs and actions. And it was really thinking about if we believe that choice is ... impacts engagement in writing then we'd have to be thinking about choice of genre in addition to choice of topic. And so really just thinking about how much the choice of genre impacts engagement.
So much of what I've seen in my work in classrooms across the country, and international schools as well, where just increasingly over the last 10 years I'm in more and more classrooms where children go through year after year of school, and never have choice of genre. Schools where from kindergarten through sixth grade, every unit of study from the first day of kindergarten to the last day of sixth grade is a genre study.
And I always want to be careful this because I love genre studies. I'm traveling right now with 50 pounds of books in my suitcase organized by genre because of how much I love genre study and having a ... needing a stack of text to teach that. It's just not the only thing that children should be studying in that when we know how much engagement impacts ... or is it impacted by choice of genre, we'd have to consider having some units of study in a year that allow for and provide for a choice of genre.
Katie: Yeah, engagement is such an interesting word. And when I think about professional writers, people who write for a living, typically if you ask them about their work they lead with genre, right? They tell you the kind of thing that they write. Like, "I'm a journalist." Or, "I write historical fiction." So part of the conception of who you are as a writer is tied to the kind of thing you like to make with writing. Would you say that that's true?
Matt: Yeah. Especially the like to make part, I really engage in one type of writing. This is the type of professional writing I do. It's the genre I care about. In fact one thing is ... I'm always amazed with is the people who write in multiple genres. I choose the type of writing that I engage in because it's the archetype I find most engaging, most interesting. Which brings up an interesting thing when we think with students too because for a long time I'd always just say, "Well students will choose the type of writing they find most engagement," when they have choice of genre. But it actually opens up a whole nother world of possibilities with children in terms of why they're choosing things when they have choice of genre.
Students will say things like, "Well I tried ... I chose this genre because my friend recommended it." Or, "I chose the genre because I've never tried it before." My favorite one is this student who said, "I chose this genre because I don't think I'm very good at it and I think I could get better at it when we're not studying it." Which is really interesting if you think about it because what he is saying is, "I think I learn best when the engagement is high and stakes are low." And so it's so interesting though the range of reasons the children give. And of course we'd never even learn that about children if they never have choice of genre. Unless you have choice of genre we can't even ask, "Why did you choose this genre?" And learn those things about students.
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that's an important point. And that also makes me think about ... You emphasize in the book that, "What are you making" is a really different question than, "What are you writing" or, "What are you writing about?" I'm not sure that that's always crystal clear in people's thinking so can you talk about the difference between those two questions? What are you writing and what are you making?
Matt: Yeah, it's funny because that was the working title of this book. Long ago when I first just needed a title to hold its place it was, what are you making? Because that question gets at the full sense of ... as a student or as a writer, we're creating something. With young children that we're making a picture book, we're making something that has pictures and words that all work together, and we're making that about a particular topic, and we're making it about a particular ... in a particular genre. And with older children the same thing. We're bringing everything to bear to create this piece of writing to make something. And that's the other part of it is that as soon as you say, "What are you making?" It implies the question of genre. It's not just what are you writing about but what's the genre you're writing in? What's the total package of this? What's the thing that you're actually creating?
It's interesting with young children often when we ask them, "What are you ..." I'll say, "Oh, what type of book are you making?" And they'll often respond with a topic. They'll say, "I'm making a book about dogs." I'll say, "Well, what type of book is that? What are you actually making? Is it a ... teaches about dogs? A story about a dog?" With older children it's the same thing. When I say, "What are you making?" That the question sometimes stumps them. And what I sometimes ... like, "Where does this show up in the library?" Or, "Where do you go find one of these in the world? What is this thing?" Because then it gives it a whole project-like sense of, "Oh, I'm building something, I'm making something. I'm creating something" rather than just writing.
Katie: I think that's it. And I think it's the ... it's also the space between topic and vision of what you're going to turn it into. And that the vision of what it will be is what comes from genre. Genre is that thing that gives you vision. So I have my topic and now I can picture what I'm going to make it into. And of course the only way to have vision for it is that you've seen it as a reader, right?
Matt: That you have a stack of text, right?
Katie: Right. Or that if you're in classrooms and kids choose a genre that is not one you've studied, and not one they've studied anywhere else, the only way they would know to choose it would be if they knew it first as readers.
Matt: And even just maybe vaguely as readers. I had children who write songs who've never had a unit of study on songwriting. And not read a lot of songs but they've experienced songs, they know what this thing is and they know enough to give it a shot.
Katie: That's interesting because ... Yeah, and you might not have actually ever seen a song written down or a screenplay.
Matt: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's another one. Yeah. But I know children writing scripts and screenplays, those kinds of things, even though ... Well I've got ... I know a little guy who's writing TV shows, he's ever seen a TV show script but he's watched a lot of TV shows and he knows ... and he writes down what they say in TV shows and he figures those things out. That whole sense of putting all these things together to make something seems to be key.
Katie: And the something, the tangible thing of it, versus just, "I'm just writing something, I'm making it into something" is huge.
Matt: It also has a little bit of a sense of student ownership in what am I deciding to make? Which is a little different than whatever I've been told to write.
Katie: What do you think keeps us so stuck in genre study and how did we get so stuck in genre study?
Matt: It's interesting, I just had a teacher who for the first time had a craft or a process study and she's like, "Well I was a little confused by it. I've never had one before." She said, "I've been in writing ... I've been teaching for 10 years. I've been in a writing ... my students, I've been teaching with a writing workshop for 10 years and I've never had anything but genre studies." And so I think some of this has been a misinterpretation of standards that have people think that everything has to be a genre study because standards ... even though they don't specifically address certain genres usually.
So I think a lot of it is what teachers have been used to in the schools they're working in. It's the point now where it's becoming grained enough that people sometimes can't imagine having anything else. There are lots of resources out in the world that are primarily genre based which again perpetuates that.
Katie: Because the idea of craft and process studies ... or studying something other than genre is really ... it's not new. It's been around for a while but it hasn't really taken hold. I sometimes wonder if just the whole idea of every child writing about a different topic and then also perhaps in a different genre just is scary, how do I support that?
Matt: Yeah. Oh my gosh, all the time. And what's interesting is I don't think it's any more difficult. I think it's an issue of, again, people not being used to it. In fact I can make a good case for a lot of ways that craft and process studies students ... units where students are choosing their genre, which means that they're writing in lots of different genres, is actually easier to teach in in some ways. But again, if you're not used to it, it can feel a little different.
There is partially a control issue with this where sometimes teachers will feel more comfortable when everyone's writing on the same topic or writing on the same genre, or doing the same thing, same day and same time. But we know that flies in the face of how children learn and grow. And when it comes to things like choice of genre and how to manage that, there's lots of little just easy tips that will make that easier for teachers.
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And your book is full of them.
Matt: Yeah. So for example, the teachers will quickly often say, "Oh my gosh, wait, if I have eight different genres going on in my class, that now means I need to have eight different samples of my own writing, and eight different stacks of text, and eight conferring kids. And how am I going to manage to teach into each of these eight genres all in the same unit?" In actuality that's much easier because you shouldn't be teaching into any of the genres because if you have clear goals for this unit of study and if you have a clear focus for this unit, then that allows you to not teach into the genre, and teach into the unit goals. And so now conferring where I'm seeing an extra child and I might be tempted to teach into the genre they're writing, and what if I don't have the resources for that? No, I don't have to worry about that because I'm not teaching into the genre.
If I'm in a reading like a writer unit, I'm going to be asking them, "What have you tried in your writing that you learned from somebody else?" And then whatever genre they're teaching I can teach into their ... how they're noticing and trying out. Or if it's a punctuation study it doesn't matter at all what genre they're writing in, I'm going to be looking at their punctuation, asking them how they're crafting with punctuation. And then I can use any of my resources to teach it with. When I'm conferring with the child I don't have to have, to show them, the same genre that they're writing it because the skill isn't genre specific.
Katie: Which is really liberating when you think about it.
Matt: Yeah, really. And actually it makes it easier in some ways.
Katie: And I think too ... I think a point that the book makes really well is that these studies are in fact incredibly focused. The fact that everyone's not writing the same thing doesn't mean that you lose focus. They're very focused, they're just focused on something other than genre.
Matt: Sometimes teachers say, "This unit feels fuzzy." Or, "I'm not sure what to teach." Well there's some simple things that help clarify those units and make it much easier. I just mentioned one of them and that's in a unit when I'm conferring I'd think about ... If I was going to ask every child the same question at the beginning of a conference ... I'm not saying you have to ask only only one question, but if I was going to ask everybody the same question at the beginning of a conference, what would that question be? In a reading like a writer unit I'd ask, "What have you tried that you learned from somebody else?" If it was a punctuation study, "Talk to me about your most interesting punctuation move. This afternoon I was in a fifth grade class where they were at a unit of study, using beautiful, rich language. The first question I asked in my conferences, talk to me about the most interesting, powerful language move you've made in this piece of writing. See and what that does when you add that key question, it starts to clarify right away, here's the goal for this unit, right? Here's what we're working towards. [inaudible 00:12:28] goes right along with that is if I've been asking that question, that's also what we're going to be thinking about in the writing celebration at the end of the unit. The end of that unit, not only are students going to share their writing, but they're also going to share a point where in their writing, Oh, here's where I learned something from somebody else.
Here's where I tried out the different type of language crafting or whatever. The writing celebration, if we think about that before the unit starts, what are students going to share at the celebration that shows what they've learned in this unit? Certainly we're going to share writing and enjoy each other's writing, but in any celebration genre craft, our process study, the celebration should be a reflection also of what students have learned in this unit. They should be showing off, here's what I've learned, here's what I've accomplished and same thing in a craft or a process study. Here's what I had been learning and trying out. Here's how I have grown as a writer. So if I have a key question, I have a clear focus for the celebration that goes a long way, and then if I have clear goals for the unit, then even more so I have a nice tight focus and it's every bit as rigorous as a genre study.
Katie: Right. I wonder sometimes if there are obstacles too, and I mean one of the things that's nice about genre study is that there's kind of a rhythm to a genre study that is the same no matter what genre you're writing, right? They kind of play out in terms of your planning the same way every time. You know, you start with immersion to get a feel for it. At some point you've got to get ideas, then you draft, you know, they just kind of follow the same line and then it almost seems like there's kind of, I don't want to say scope and sequence because that's too regimented, but there is a sequence to it and the scope feels contained.
Whereas if you take a topic like beautiful language, learning to craft with beautiful language or strategies for revision, there's not a clear beginning and ending place and you don't really get a sense of, Oh I've covered it, in the sense of taught everything and so I wonder if because that's sort of more intangible that the scope and sequence if you will, of the teaching that it feels harder to grab onto.
Matt: Yeah, I think it can, but I do think there's some common toehold, some kind of anchors that will help both across, you know we're doing genre studies, and certainly in craft studies and in some process studies. So in punctuation study again, there's an immersion phase, at the beginning of that because we have to spend some time just thinking about what are all the different ways that people use punctuation, right? And get used to noticing what authors do in terms of punctuation. So there is certainly an immersion phase. In fact, one of the things that often is a little toehold at the beginning of craft and process studies is do I need a mini lesson on choosing genres? A lot of times students just fall back on choosing whatever genre they wrote most recently or whatever they've written most over the years instead of really considering and thinking about what genre they might write in.
And so there's some little toeholds like that [inaudible 00:15:31] writing celebrations and getting ready for a celebration at the end of a unit. But I agree with you in the middle of that unit, there's not always necessarily a certain order those things have to go in, but there are things that I'm building towards. I'm looking at what are some easier skills in the revision study early in a unit rather than later in the unit. So I think craft studies have a similar type of rhythm to them and even process studies where some process studies would have an immersion kind of phase and other ones, it's still, there's a kind of a setting the stage. So if it was a unit on how to have better peer conferences, we need something at the beginning to help students think about, oh this is what we're working on, here's what we're working towards in this unit.
But again another thing is that kind of is liberating in that something doesn't have to be finished in order to be able to share it at the end of a process study, aircraft study, they might be writing something much longer or something they're just in the middle of that they can show evidence of what they've learned without it needing to be this finished piece of writing.
Katie: That's a good point and I guess it's just you and I have talked about this before, thinking about study in a verb sense versus a noun sense really, really switches. You're thinking about it, right? Because you can go and study something and study it and study it and have learned a lot and there still be a lot more to learn. Right. But I can show you, I have learned a lot in this study and in a verb sense versus study in a noun sense that sort of, just the name of a unit or something that's already been written. It's not an active stance to it.
Matt: Well I agree. And I think what it also does is it's a different implication for who's doing the thinking. Right? So if it's a verb that means that we're thinking together about this, I mean think how different it is, you know, if a teacher comes in on the first day of a unit of study, say a memoir study and says, here are the two defining characteristics of memoir, distance and reflection or whatever. I mean the teacher is doing all the thinking. There's no study, there's no action in the verb sense and as the class as opposed to let's walk in on the first day of a memoir study and here's a memoir, let's study what this author does, and so it's that full sense of, like you said, you know, we're doing something and we're studying something and it's the same thing in a craft or a process study we're studying, how do people talk about their writing?
How do authors revise? How do authors think ahead in their writing or even how do, how do authors work with stamina for an extended period of time? It's all studying what authors do, just very different than just like you said, the name of a unit of study.
Katie: I wonder too, I mean does the angling thing have anything to do with the fact that all of your chapters have three different titles? Can you talk a little bit about why you have optional titles for your chapters?
Matt: It does because, and I'm sure that didn't throw my editor necessarily.
Katie: For people who are listening, let me give them an example. Okay. I wrote one down so I would have it. So for example, chapter 12 is titled: revision, or improving children's disposition toward revision, or supporting children's skills in adding, deleting, moving and changing their writing.
Matt: And so one of the thing that happens again is that one of the ways to try to clarify and make these units or any unit for that medic say the same thing about genre studies, but to make the units clear in the mind of teachers, right? What are we really working towards? And so revision study, right? We can cause what most people might call it, like you just said, but that can be fuzzy at times. It might mean lots of different things to different people, especially if people aren't clear what they mean by revision to begin with, but that's different than if we just go ahead and name it, which is what the third one you just said, improving your skill at adding, moving, changing, deleting, which is revision. That's a little more precise and helps clarify that, but maybe the reason someone is thinking about a revision study is because they have fourth and fifth graders who are reluctant to revise, right?
Which is not uncommon and so maybe what we're really thinking about in this revision unit is different ways to revise, but our bigger goal to it is we want students at the end of this unit to be revising independently and better in all of the rest of the units of the year. Right? And so it's that has a different kind of a little bit of different focus to it. On the one hand, we could say it doesn't matter what the unit title is, what really matters is what are we teaching day by day that will define the unit, but if we have a more precise name to begin with, now we can be more clear in what we are or aren't going to teach in the unit. It helps with some of the things you read about, about the structure and flow of that unit. If we can say here's exactly what this unit means.
Katie: Right. You'd be much more intentional about what you're teaching day by day, if you were clear about what the big driving force of the study is. Right?
Matt: Yeah. Well, it's like if you think back to about the authors where instead of calling it an illustration study, and I'm going to butcher it now because it's not in front of me, but something along the lines of how to have pictures and words work better together. That's a whole different context. It's not about illustration, it's about pictures and words working together. It gives a very different meaning for that. So...
Katie: So really what you're doing with these optional titles is you're modeling for your reader, not necessarily giving them the possible titles, but you're just modeling how to come up with a name for the unit that really helps you orchestrate your work inside the unit.
Matt: Right? And trying to do it in different ways. So maybe as to clarify the unit, maybe it's to be more specific in it. Yeah. I could have given five, ten titles. Probably. You could keep thinking about different ways to describe that unit, so I'm not thinking that it has to be one of those, but it might give somebody also an idea and Oh yeah, well maybe that's how I could start to focus that unit. That's much more the skill of thinking and I felt like if I only put one title in there, I'd be making that decision for teachers as well. Now there are three, hopefully people think, Oh yeah, there's a fourth and a fifth that there could be and as a teacher I need to be deciding what is the focus here.
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So to switch gears just a little bit, the book has tons of online video resources in it and it struck me that so many of them are writing conferences, which I love to watch. You have writing conferences. I've learned so much from you about conferring from watching them and also, you know, it's just thinking about that the role of conferring, particularly in units of study that aren't driven by genre seems particularly important.
Matt: Yeah, certainly does. I think in a couple of different ways. One is again, there's some things to be like we talked about before that it just will make that conferring a little easier, right? If I have a clear focus for the unit that's going to help me to focus that conference in different ways, but it's also like always crucial for students just from the standpoint of mini lessons aren't going to be enough that those individual conferences are where I'm really going to learn about children, that if there's no conversation for not having conferences, we won't begin to know what all children can actually do and especially in this situation with craft and process studies where we want to have an insight into what do they understand about the genre they're writing in, what are they thinking about how they've chosen this genre, why this genre and other, we won't get it any of that unless there's some conversation, right?
Unless we're actually talking in teaching into what they're working on. Again. That's why if I've projected this unit out and they have a good vision for what this unit is, then I have a much broader range of teaching possibilities that are going to help me decide in a conference what all I might teach and to make that decision based off of unit goals. I mean, I think again, with craft and process studies, I have to have that clear goal in mind of what I'm working towards so that I don't get sidetracked in conferences into other things. Not that I'm not basing on individual needs, but just that I have to keep in mind what the focus for that unit is.
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative) yeah, and the focus of that unit with this individual child, what does that look like?
Matt: Yeah and for what they're doing with this piece of writing in this [inaudible 00:23:56] child and for this particular unit we're in, how do I have all those things work together?
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I just think there's so much for teachers, readers to learn from watching those conferences. You kind of look at it and you go, well, this is a very particular conversation with a very particular child, but how does this really help me? But what happens is when you watch multiple ones of them. You watch lots of conferences over time, is what I'm trying to say, you really begin to get a feeling for how to talk to kids about it, the kinds of questions that are important to ask, the kinds of follow up comments and questions. And I love that you've put so many of them connected to the book for people to learn from.
Matt: Well, it's interesting even as you're saying that, and you were talking before about kind of the rhythm through line, maybe of a unit of study, right? How there's kind of a predictable ways that different units go, but there's a ... I think it's that same thing when you can watch lots of conferences. Right? And that's what I've learned by watching other people's conferences. But there's some predictable patterns. So in each of those conferences I'm really thinking about and making sure that I'm teaching versus just telling, reminding, correcting. What happens so often is that people will give reminders and a little telling and a little correcting of something, but there's no actual teaching. There's no showing how to do something.
Matt: Whereas in each of those conferences I'm using either a published piece of writing. I'm using my own writing, I'm using a student piece of writing to actually show the child how to do something.
Katie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Matt: There's lots of little things like that across those conferences. Even though in the book there's wildly different conferences, right? One of my rare conferences into someone writing a rap battle, right? And I had to pull on my limited hip hop knowledge to be able to think about how to confer and it didn't really have to pull [inaudible 00:02:03] It wasn't conferring into the genre. The child's writing is how to think about word choice.
Katie: Oh yeah.
Matt: So one of the powerful things, hopefully, about those videos is that you're seeing the same patterns regardless of what the unit is or what the genre the child's writing in.
Katie: Right, right.
Matt: Because there's some words that same class, same unit, childhood children are writing in different genres. I'm teaching different things, but it's the same patterns of a conference.
Katie: I also want to talk a little bit about your website. You have a new website, which is so exciting that you kind of put together as a way to help support the work that teachers will do around this book. Can you talk a little bit about it and describe for people what you've got there?
Matt: Yeah. So one of the things I've said for years to teachers is that when we're in, in particular ... not only, but in particular a process study or we're studying aspect of an author's process, right? In fact, it's not even just process studies. Any unit of study where we're thinking about process that authors use that's tricky to see on the page. Or you can't see it on the page. And so it's hidden. And so I've always said, but if you're thinking about revision moves or thinking about something, the equivalent would be to go to video clips of what do authors say about it, right? We used to say, go to quotes of what authors say about revision or go what they say about talking with others about their writing and why that's important.
And then we could go to video. It's just so much easier to get now. But even then problem becomes, it's tricky to go through and listen to lots of hours of video looking for the three minute clip that you want to use in a mini lesson. Now be careful, I think there's great value in watching videos. There's lots of video out about authors talking about just their writing in general. But in a mini lesson, right? Or in teaching. I want to say I hear, I want to show you this five minute clip of an author who you know, talk about why it's important to talk to other people about your writing or why it's important to talk about, to read your writing aloud, right? Some of those things that we wouldn't know necessarily that authors are doing.
So to make that a little more accessible for children, I've just started this website and I've started that just with five units basically. I'm finding ideas, here conferring, how to use a writer's notebook, revision and I'm leaving one out. Of course now I tied this to together. Anyway, [inaudible 00:04:31] these different process studies, right? And it's just collections of video clips of authors talking about their process. Some of them are links to video clips out in the world that already exist. But I've matting clips right now of just authors I've been interviewing. I have authors that I'm scheduling to interview and people I've interviewed, and I'm just asking them questions specific to those things that teachers might use in classrooms. I'm certainly planning on expanding that site. I need to get a reading, a writer section up there soon as I already have lots of video clips of talking about authors who they learned from.
I have a great clip of Lester Laminack talking about the very specific, the six authors he goes to when he gets stuck in his writing and how he thinks about their writing. And so I need a section to put that one up yet. So is just, its a site that I'm hopefully makes it easy for teachers to find clips of authors talking about authors. Talking about process and talking in a wide range of authors.
So my biggest hope is actually, that I'm not the only one populating this site. So if anyone goes to the site, which is authortoauthor.org there's a place right on there that if you're having an author visit your school, I've put a bunch of interview questions that you could ask. You could pick a few of those, videotape that and send me the link or whatever. There's a place right on the website to contact me. I'd love for teachers to help populate that site. In fact, what some of my favorite clips on there right now are two fifth grade students interviewing Nicola Davies and asking her questions about who she talks to her about her writing and all sorts of interesting things.
Katie: If you could interview any author in the world, who would be your dream author to interview for your author to author site.
Matt: All right, so that's tricky cause there's, if you hadn't said for the site and if I was just going to interview, there's lots of people I'd like to interview because, what's happened is I become, since doing this, I've become much, much more interested in an author's process, right? And how they think through things so its so fascinating already to talk to [inaudible 00:30:31] people and to interview three authors and they all answer things as different ways, right? And they're not all doing it the same way, which I think is such an important lesson for students that everyone doesn't do something the exact same way. So if it was just for my own interests, I'd love to interview somebody like Michael Lewis who I think is so interesting just in terms of how he writes informational writing in a very narrative way and how important story is to that and it's almost this mixture of genres.
So I'd love to know how he plans that and how we, if his revision is different for different parts of these writing or there's lots of questions around that because he writes such interesting things but that won't be very helpful for fourth graders out there who don't know who Michael Lewis is necessarily. So if I think about that with children's authors, I'm particularly interested in people who write in multiple genres. So already there's an interview with Ralph Fletcher and Ralph's are interesting cause he writes poetry, he writes stories, he writes different things.
One of the people I'd love to talk to then, would be someone like Cynthia Rylant, who writes in such varied genres. She writes every genre that's out there it seems like. Right? And it's very different ages. And so I love when I can talk to people like that who write for different ages, write in different genres. And then we can think about how's your process different, how is it similar across those other areas. And I know she's your favorite author, so I thought I would throw that in for you as well. But it really is, that type of person is the person that I am particularly interested in.
Katie: She's one of my favorites. I've expanded my horizons over the year. You know what's funny is when I first started, the first picture book that I ever fell in love with was hers. It was when I was young in the mountains, and this was years and years ago because I wasn't an elementary person. I was a secondary English major. But I encountered when I was young in the mountains in a summer writing Institute. And it changed my life in so many ways. So certainly she was the first author who really taught alongside me and I knew her books by heart for a very long time.
Matt: Well, and I have authors like that who I just, there are authors who I'll just buy anything they write pretty much. And so those are people I am particularly interested in talking to, too. Someone like Bob Graham, who I just love his writing and would love to talk him.
Matt: So if anyone has a good Cynthia Rylant or Bob Graham hookup for me, that would be great.
Katie: Well, it's been great. I guess I would just like to close out. What are your greatest hopes for this book? Five years down the road. What difference do you hope this book has made in the world?
Matt: Yeah. My greatest hope would be that, because I work in a wide, wide range of schools and lots of different States and all over the place, and my greatest hope would be that five years from now I don't walk into a classroom that only has genre studies. Or they're, my biggest hope would be that I don't talk to a fifth grader who has become a reluctant writer because he has spent five years writing in genres that aren't energizing for him. And so my biggest hope then, is that this book helps increase a love of writing and engagement in writing for all children, especially reluctant ones.
Katie: Well you do a really great job of providing a lot of practical, thoughtful support for teachers to make sure that happens. So I think it's quite a gift to the world that you've put together there, Matt.
Matt: It means a lot coming from you. So I appreciate that.
Katie: All right, well thanks for your time today and I'll look forward to seeing what people have to say about the book very soon.
You can learn more about Craft and Process Studies at Heinemann.com!
Follow us on Instagram @heinemannpub to stay up to date on the latest books, your favorite authors, and upcoming events!
Matt Glover has been a teacher, principal, and consultant for over 30 years. He is the author and co-author of many Heinemann titles including I Am Reading, Engaging Young Writers, Projecting Possibilities for Writers, Already Ready, and Watch Katie and Matt…Sit Down and Teach Up, a video- enhanced ebook. Matt was also co-editor with Ellin Oliver Keene of a best-selling collection of essays, The Teacher You Want to Be.
An international literacy consultant, Matt frequently speaks on topics related to nurturing writers of all ages, early reading, and supporting children’s intellectual development.
Follow him on Twitter @Mattglover123
For many years as the author of bestselling Heinemann books such as About the Authors, Study Driven, Already Ready, and In Pictures and In Words, and as a member of Heinemann’s Professional Development Services, Katie Wood Ray gave teachers resources and PD that transformed writing instruction and helped children discover a lifelong love of writing.
In 2014, Katie “moved to the other side of the desk” and joined the dynamic team of editors at Heinemann where she works closely with authors to craft powerful professional books on a range of literacy topics. Katie is also the series editor for the new Classroom Essentials books from Heinemann. Tasked with bringing foundational, progressive practices to a new generation of teachers, Katie works to ensure that the sharp focus and enhanced design of each book best serve the content. She also teamed up with her longtime collaborator, Lisa Cleaveland, to write one of the first books in the series, A Teacher’s Guide to Getting Started with Beginning Writers.
You can find her on Twitter at @KatieWoodRay.