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Qualities of Powerful Nonfiction Writing Institute

Monday, September 19 - Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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While informational writing has always been important, it has become clear in the 21st century that being able to write well-crafted, well-organized informational pieces is a skill all students need. This institute will be dedicated to sharing the Project’s latest and greatest thinking about the skillful teaching of nonfiction writing.

Several years ago, a small group of TCRWP staff embarked on a two year study into the underpinnings of informational writing. We studied the current research, interviewed professional nonfiction writers, pored over mentor texts and piloted in countless classrooms across the nation. In the end we drew many conclusions that dramatically altered the way the Project had been teaching informational writing. This institute is an opportunity to be a part of their work.

Participants at this institute will learn effective strategies for helping students with common challenges such as topic choice, structure and elaboration. Participants will explore how informational writing skills can transfer across the disciplines. For example, participants will, through studying student work and working on their own writing, see how writing an informational book on a topic of personal expertise is directly linked to drafting a lab report for science class or a presentation for social studies.

Presenters will show how genre choice in nonfiction writing can affect the choices an author makes in terms of style, facts-chosen and audience reached. For example, if a student learns to write in one informational genre, how can we best help that student to try and succeed with others? As part of this study, participants will spend time with favorite nonfiction mentor texts across a variety of nonfiction genres in a wide range of readability levels. Many of us are familiar with mentor authors famous for crafting fiction and other narrative texts, however few of us can rattle off more than a couple informational authors. Participants of this institute will leave with armloads of options for informational authors their students will love to read and mentor themselves to.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY