Exploring the relationship between the writer and what he/she happens to be writing, this text by one of the foremost scholars in the field of literacy and cognition is a unique and original examination of writing--as a craft and as a cognitive activity. The book is concerned with the physical activity of writing, the way the nervous system recruits the muscles to move the pen or manipulate the typewriter. It considers the necessary disciplines of writing, such as knowledge of the conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In particular, there is a concern with how the skills underlying all these aspects of writing are learned and orchestrated.
This second edition includes many new insights from the author's significant experience and from recent research, providing a framework for thinking about the act of writing in both theoretical and practical ways. A completely new chapter on computers and writing is included, as well as more about the role of reading in learning to write, about learning to write at all ages, and about such controversial issues as whether and how genre theory should be taught.
Written in nontechnical language, this text will continue to be accessible and stimulating to a wide range of readers concerned with writing, literacy, thinking, and education. Furthermore, it has an educational orientation, therefore proving relevant and useful to anyone who teaches about writing or endeavors to teach writing.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface to the Second Edition. Preface to the First Edition. Introduction. Why Write? Writing: Collaboration and Competition. The Thought Behind Language. Putting Meaning Into Words. Language: Spoken and Written. The Writer-Reader Contract. The Act of Writing. Starting and Stopping. The Tapestry of Transcription. The Tools of the Trade. Learning to Be a Writer. Learning the Technicalities. The Writing Teacher. Retrospect and Second Thoughts.
"In this lucid, reflective, and wholly accessible book, Frank Smith has spread out the writing process, his own included, so that we may take stock of all that it involves....Best of all, he shows how teachers and children in collaboration can describe or rediscover the power of the writer as a producer of texts to be read -- until now the least emphasized aspect of universal literacy."
Praise for the first edition:
"It is unusual for educators to reveal how they know. Frank Smith is rare, for he explores and exposes the very act of learning through writing."
—James S. Davis
NCTE Award Presenter