2nd Edition

When Writing Workshop Isn't Working Answers to 10 Tough Questions, Grades 2-5

By Mark Overmeyer Copyright 2025
    184 Pages 3 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Writing is hard work. Teaching it can be even harder. As most teachers know, writer's workshop doesn't always go as planned, and many find there are obstacles that they consistently struggle with. In his role as a literacy coordinator and teacher, Mark Overmeyer has heard the same issues raised again and again by both new and experienced colleagues.

    When Writing Workshop Isn't Working: Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5 provides practical advice to overcome these common problems and get your writing workshop back on track. Acknowledging the process-based nature of the writing workshop, this book does not offer formulaic, program-based, one-size-fits all answers, but presents multiple suggestions based on what works in real classrooms. This second edition includes updated ideas for common issues in the workshop and features new chapters on technology and resistant writers. Questions addressed in the new edition include: 

    ·       How can I reach resistant writers?

    ·       How can I support students in their use of technology, including A.I.?

    ·       How should I assess student writing?

    ·       How do I manage writing conferences?

    ·       How can I help my students revise and self-edit? 

    This book is a handy reference tool for answering specific questions as they pop up during the year. Overmeyer uses student examples throughout to help teachers envision these solutions in their own classes, and he includes an array of classroom-tested ideas for multilingual learners. 

    There may not be any easy answers to the complexities of writer's workshop, but by identifying and providing advice on common stumbling blocks, the second edition of When Writing Workshop Isn't Working provides a solid groundwork—freeing up time and creativity for teachers to address the specific needs of their students.

    1. How Do I Begin My Writing Instruction?  2. How Can I Reach Resistant Writers?  3. How Can I Help My Students Develop Better Vocabulary and Word Choice?  4. How Can I Help Students Write in Complete and More Interesting Sentences?  5. How Can I Help My Students Organize Their Writing?  6. How Can I Help My Students Revise and Self-Edit?  7. How Do I Effectively Manage Writing Conferences?  8. How Do I Assess My Students’ Writing?  9. How Can I Effectively Support Students in Their Intentional Use of Technology in the Writing Workshop?  10. How Do I Plan for Writing Instruction?  Appendix A: Books to Support Memoir Writing  Appendix B: Books to Support Narrative Writing  Appendix C: Revising My Writing  Appendix D: Descriptive Writing Rubric  Appendix E: Four Point Generic Writing Rubric  Appendix F: Yearlong Plan  Appendix G: Recommended Books by Topic


    Mark Overmeyer, with over thirty years in education, has been a classroom teacher, an interventionist, an adjunct professor, and a literacy coordinator. As a classroom teacher he taught grades two through eight in Cherry Creek Schools near Denver Colorado, and for one year he taught high school English to students in Suzhou, China as part of a teacher exchange program. He now consults with teachers, coaches, curriculum specialists, and administrators across all grade levels in both the US and abroad. He continues his journey to become a better teacher and facilitator by being in classrooms with students as much as possible. He lives with his husband in Denver, Colorado.

    "When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working is a smart, practical first aid kit for writing teachers! Mark Overmeyer gives concrete step-by-step suggestions and solutions to problems all teachers of writing face at one time or another. Writing teachers need a resourceful book like this one in our professional libraries."

    Georgia Heard