Teaching Writing Balancing Process and Product

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-12-29
  • Publisher: Pearson
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This best selling text by Gail Tompkins thoroughly examines genres and instructional procedures with a strong new focus on differentiating instruction to ensure success for all writing students. New chapters on the writer's craft and on writing across the curriculum offer detailed information on the six traits of good writing as well as writing in content areas, and new features provide insight into teaching English learners and using technology meaningfully in the writing classroom.

Author Biography


Gail E. Tompkins


After teaching writing for more than 30 years at elementary through university levels, Gail E. Tompkins is now a full-time writer. “I’ve always liked to write,” Dr. Tompkins explains. “My Dad was an Army officer, stationed in post-war Germany when I was four.  I remember sitting beside my mother at the kitchen table while she wrote weekly letters to my grandparents. I drew pictures and wrote my own notes that she mailed along with her letters. In third grade, I received a journal and filled it with details about the everyday events in my life, like kids do. I did lots of writing in sixth grade–more than in high school. I wrote a 126-page tome about anthropology after reading a biography about Margaret Mead. My teacher urged me to improve my spelling and predicted that one day I’d be a writer. Now I realize that I already was one.”


Today Dr. Tompkins divides her time between the east and west coasts.  She spends much of the year in Fresno, California, but summers on Cape Cod. The photo on this page shows Dr. Tompkins at a beach in Wellfleet.  Take a clook at the cover of this  edition of Teaching Writing.  Again it features a pencil; this time the pencil’s morphed into a submarine that’s exploring the Atlantic Ocean off the Cape.


Dr. Tompkins is Professor Emerita at California State University, Fresno, where she received the prestigious Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Previously, she taught at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where she received the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching, and at Miami University in Ohio. Before that, she was an elementary teacher in Northern Virginia for eight years.


Dr. Tompkins has written numerous articles for Language Arts, The Reading Teacher, and other professional journals, and she’s the author of these books, also published by Pearson:

• Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach, 5th ed. (2010)

• Literacy in the Early Grades: A Successful Start for PreK-4 Readers and Writers, 3rd ed. (2011)

• Literacy in the Middle Grades: Teaching Reading and Writing to Fourth Through Eighth Graders, 2nd ed. (2010)

• Language Arts Essentials (2006)

• Language Arts: Patterns of Practice, 7th ed. (2009)

• 50 Literacy Strategies, 3rd ed. (2009)    

In addition, Dr. Tompkins has worked with elementary-  through college-level writing teachers at two National Writing Project sites during the last three decades.  She directed the Oklahoma Writing Project when she taught at the University of Oklahoma, and more recently she led the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project (SJVWP) in California, where she encouraged teachers to write for publication.  Pearson has published these collections of classroom-tested teaching strategies and lessons written by SJVWP teachers: Teaching Vocabulary: 50 Creative Strategies, Grades 6-12, 2nd ed. (2008), edited by Gail E. Tompkins and Cathy L. Blanchfield; 50 Ways to Develop Strategic Writers (2005), also edited by Gail E. Tompkins and Cathy L. Blanchfield; and Sharing the Pen: Interactive Writing With Young Children (2004), edited by Gail E. Tompkins and Stephanie Collom.



Table of Contents


Part 1 The Process

1. The Writing Process                                      

2. Developing Strategic Writers

3. The Writer's Craft 

4. Assessing Writing


Part 2 The Product

5. Personal Writing

6. Descriptive Writing

7. Poetry Writing

8. Narrative Writing

9. Expository Writing

10. Biographical Writing

11. Persuasive Writing

12. Writing Across the Curriculum 


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