1st Edition

Worth Writing About Exploring Memoir with Adolescents

By Jake Wizner Copyright 2015

    Who am I? This is the question that many adolescents ask during the turbulent middle and high school years. In Worth Writing About: Exploring Memoir with Adolescents, Jake Wizner addresses how searching for the answer to this question leads his students to reflection, to reading, and ultimately to deeper, more meaningful writing. Wizner, a 20-year teaching veteran, believes that a well-designed memoir unit not only aligns with the Common Core State Standards but also forges community in the classroom, encourages kids to read nonfiction, and works wonders with students who struggle with their writing'sor with their lives.Worth Writing About addresses the most common challenges teachers face when teaching memoir writing: How do you help students who say that nothing interesting has happened in their lives? How do you help students balance what is meaningful with what is too personal to share? How do you help students overcome the I don't remember syndrome?Wizner delves into the craft of writing, from using mentor texts to crafting leads and memorable endings. He uses student models from his own classroom to show the deep, important work his students produce during the memoir unit. By writing about themselves and how they view the world around them, students discover more about themselves and how they want to move forward in the future.

    Prologue: The Rice Bowl; Chapter 1: Why Memoir?; Chapter 2: What's Worth Writing About?; Chapter 3: The Reading-Writing Connection; Chapter 4: Fact and Truth; Chapter 5: Story and Understory; Chapter 6: The Sea and the Mountain; Chapter 7: Beginnings, Endings, and Titles; Chapter 8: Assessment and Evaluation; Chapter 9: Struggling Students


    Jake Wizner teaches eighth grade English and social studies at the Salk School of Science in New York City. He is the author of the young adult novels Spanking Shakespeare (Random House, 2007) and Castration Celebration (Random House, 2009) and has spent the past two decades developing and inspiring young writers.