1st Edition

Making Nonfiction from Scratch

By Ralph Fletcher Copyright 2015

    Do you have students whose nonfiction writing is formulaic, devoid of energy and voice? In Making Nonfiction from Scratch bestselling PD and children's book author Ralph Fletcher offers a candid critique of how nonfiction writing is often taught in schools and gives teachers the inspiration and strategies they need to help their students write authentic nonfiction. Skilled nonfiction writers draw on strategies, techniques, and craft found in other genres: poetry, comedy, even mystery. Without those elements, nonfiction would be dry and dull. Making Nonfiction from Scratch helps bring all of those aspects together and shows how each genre can enrich nonfiction writing. Ralph emphasizes the power of choice, mentor texts, and nonfiction read-alouds in making nonfiction an everyday part of classrooms. Classroom Connection- sections throughout the book suggest immediate, practical strategies for putting the ideas in the book to use. Two case studies and a chapter on the dos and don'ts of nonfiction writing instruction round out this short, practical book. Any informational writing should be insightful, accurate, and well organized - but it doesn't have to be boring. Ralph invites you to make your classroom a place where students can create delicious nonfiction full of passion, voice, and insight.

    Introduction; Part 1: Setting the Table: Tools of the Nonfiction Trade; Chapter 1: Stone Soup: A Parable; Chapter 2: Lessons from Working as a Freelance Writer; Chapter 3: Louise Borden: Tools of the Nonfiction Trade; Chapter 4: Helpful Attitudes for Making Nonfiction; Part 2: Making Nonfiction in the Classroom; Chapter 5: Choosing Choice; Chapter 6: Where Have All the Nonfiction Read-Alouds Gone?; Chapter 7: An Exploratory Notebook; Chapter 8: Building Deep Knowledge; Chapter 9: Plunging into a Nonfiction Text Study; Chapter 10: The Power of Primary Sources; Chapter 11: Case History No. 1: The ABC's of Bubble Gum; Chapter 12: Case History No. 2: Kindergarten Ethnographies; Chapter 13: Deglazing the PAN: Dos, Don'ts, and Practical Tips for Teaching Nonfiction


    Ralph Fletcher is a friend of young writers and readers as well as writing teachers. He has written or co-authored many books for writing teachers including Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Teaching the Qualities of Writing, Lessons for the Writer’s Notebook, Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, and Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing. Ralph has worked with teachers around the U.S. and abroad, helping them find wiser ways of teaching writing. Ralph’s many books for students include picture books (Twilight Comes Twice, Hello Harvest Moon, and The Sandman), novels (Fig Pudding, Flying Solo, and Spider Boy), poetry (A Writing Kind of Day and Moving Day), and a memoir, Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid. His novel Uncle Daddy was awarded the Christopher medal in 2002. He has also written a popular series of books for young writers including Poetry Matters, Live Writing, and A Writer's Notebook. Ralph lives with his family in New Hampshire. He is a strong environmentalist who believes we all must work together to live in a more sustainable way. His other passions include travel, good food, dark chocolate, growing orchids, and sports.