I am always on the lookout for readable and clear instructions and advice for better writing for students. I will often give chapters from books about particular types of writing in lieu of textbook reading, a) because we don’t have enough textbooks and b) because I want more precision and specificity in my advice.
It’s easy to correct bad writing. It’s hard to teach good writing. There’s a hard balance to strike between not only those two aims, but also between giving too much advice and not enough. For example, it’s hard to prep students for a writing assignment until you make them write. And then it’s pretty easy to say, ok fix this, rewrite this, this doesn’t work, this does. Go!
But then getting them to do much more than fix errors is a difficult task.
Some things this book does really well is of course create some guidelines, but then provides models and examples for both good writing and bad writing. Students need to see bad writing, know what makes it bad, and how to avoid it. They also need the opposite. And so I think my students will be reading chunks of this book next year as a way to help them better understand the difference.
I am also excited because this book has a large section on memoir writing, a key and important part of the early part of my school year….having students write about themselves in order to open up their writing about other things.