Love it or hate it, the five-paragraph essay is perhaps the most frequently taught form of writing in classrooms of yesterday and today. But have you ever actually seen five-paragraph essays outside of school walls? Have you ever found it in business writing, journalism, nonfiction, or any other genres that exist in the real world? Kimberly Hill Campbell and Kristi Latimer reviewed the research on the effectiveness of the form as a teaching tool and discovered that the research does not support the five-paragraph formula. In fact, research shows that the formula restricts creativity, emphasizes structure rather than content, does not improve standardized test scores, inadequately prepares students for college writing, and results in vapid writing. In Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay, Kimberly and Kristi show you how to reclaim the literary essay and create a program that encourages thoughtful writing in response to literature. They provide numerous strategies that stimulate student thinking, value unique insight, and encourage lively, personal writing, including the following:

      Close reading (which is the basis for writing about literature) Low-stakes writing options that support students' thinking as they read Collaboration in support of discussion, debate, and organizational structures that support writing as exploration A focus on students' writing process as foundational to content development and structure The use of model texts to write in the form of the literature students are reading and analyzingThe goal of reading and writing about literature is to push and challenge our students' thinking. We want students to know that their writing can convey something important: a unique view to share, defend, prove, delight, discover, and inspire. If we want our students to be more engaged, skilled writers, we need to move beyond the five-paragraph essay.

    Chapter 1: Combating Formulaic Writing; Chapter 2: Establishing a Routine of Thoughtful Reading and Writing; Chapter 3: Reading Like a Writer; Chapter 4: Writing and Discussion in Support of Thinking; Chapter 5: Writing to explore; Chapter 6: Writing as an authority; Chapter 7: Writing with Mentors


    Kimberly Hill Campbell had a bit of a bumpy start as a beginning teacher. She taught language arts at Estacada Junior High School from 1979 until 1982. Then, she says, I became the statistic: a beginning teacher who left the profession. I was frustrated that I had no voice about the curriculum in my classroom. So she turned to law and received her J.D. from Willamette University College of Law and practiced law and taught in the legal assistant program at the community college level until 1986. She returned to teaching at Estacada High School in 1987. I found my voice as a teacher through teacher research of my own practice and the research and writing of language arts teachers such as Nancie Atwell and Tom Romano. Kimberly received her M.A.T. degree from Lewis & Clark College in secondary language arts and administration in 1994, and in 1995 she was the founding principal of Riverdale High School, a small high school based on the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. She is currently assistant professor in the M.A.T. program at Lewis & Clark College. Her primary focus is working with beginning teachers who want to be middle school and high school language arts teachers. She also teaches classes in teacher research and language arts methods for inservice teachers.

    "Teachers discouraged by the lack of original thought and creativity in student writing will value Campbell and Latimer’s insightful book for providing a process, plan and alternative writing formats that breathe life back into student writing." - MiddleWeb
    "It provides keys to producing creative writing outside the formula box, and is a fine primer for any educator's collection." - Midwest Book Review
    "They offer strategies and suggestions for facilitating thoughtful reading, creative writing, and critical thinking.” - Book News