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Once Upon a Fact

Helping Children Write Nonfiction

Carol Jenkins Alice Earle Celia Genishi Dorothy S. Strickland Donna E. Alvermann

192 pages
Teachers College Press
This timely book explores the debate about how best to engage children in the writing of nonfiction and suggests many instructional strategies for K–6 classrooms. Using transcripts and descriptions of children’s actual writing practices, the authors show that children willingly embrace nonfiction writing when the genre is given an important place in the classroom. Drawn from the authors’ classroom-based research study with third graders, this groundbreaking volume: Explores in detail the intertextual patterns that children adopt when writing nonfiction reports. Documents the ways in which peer and teacher influence fuel and direct children’s writing. Identifies four types of nonfiction writers—strategic, experience-only, memory-only, and textbound–—and presents case studies with excerpts from interviews and nonfiction reports. Offers a set of instructional guidelines for supporting and extending expository writing, including sample lessons and curricular activities.
Author Bio
“ Once Upon a Fact is a rich book: a gift for writing theorists, literacy researchers, and classroom teachers alike. It is comprehensive in its scope, smart in its execution, critical in its stance, and unusually self-reflective.” — From the Foreword by George Kamberelis, State University of New York at Albany