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Carol Jago, a 32-year teaching veteran and past-president of the National Council of Teachers of English, identifies herself as a reader and writer.
An author of 14 books, including her recent The Book in Question: Why and How Reading Is in Crisis (Heinemann, 2018), Carol reflects on her years of teaching, and shares strategies for teaching writing and conferring with writers. In particular, she argues that her goal is to help students develop the habits of mind of good writers. “If my teaching results in 36 young writers depending on me,” she believes, “I haven’t done my job.”
In this episode, recorded in January 2018, she describes ways in which we can help students interrogate their own texts, as writers, and how to approach writing conferences. Our goal is to send students a message that “you can do this.” As a teacher writer, she also articulates the challenging aspects of the writing process, noting that framing writing as fun is not a strong approach. We know that writing is difficult, and so, too, our students know this. But, as a writer, she argues that “I love having written.”
She also talks about the work of Maryanne Wolf and her book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World (Harper, 2018), and the need for teaching students noth “either/or,” but “and/both” when it comes to literacy practices. Additionally, she shares her appreciation for the National Writing Project, a network of hundreds of sites and thousands of teachers that support high-quality professional development related to writing instruction.