Lucy Calkins, Writing Workshop Pioneer, Leads Sunday Lineup

As we look ahead to spring, MRA is moving its annual conference online during the weekend of March 12 to 14, 2021. On Sunday morning at 9:00 AM EST, Lucy Calkins, the Robinson Professor of Children’s Literature at Teachers College, Columbia University, kicks off a day of concurrent sessions.

Register here via the Whova platform.

Lucy Calkins is the Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. For more than thirty years, she has led the Project in its dual functions as a think tank, developing state-of-the-art teaching methods, and a provider of professional development. 

Calkins is one of the original architects of the “workshop” approach to teaching writing to children, which holds that writing is a process, with distinct phases, and that all children, not just those with innate talent, can learn to write well. She is author of some 20 books, including the best-selling The Art of Teaching Writing  and 2020’s Teaching Writing. Follow Lucy at or on Twitter @LucyCalkins.

We wanted to create lessons where the teachers were intimate, alive, and engaging on the screen, moving beyond slideshows.

Lucy Calkins

In an early-February interview with one of the co-editors of the Michigan Reading Journal, Troy Hicks, Calkins reflected on the recent work that she and her team has done with the Units of Study for Virtual Teaching. “We wanted to create lessons where the teachers were intimate, alive, and engaging on the screen, moving beyond slideshows. We knew that we could take many of the principles of effective mini-lesson instruction, like leading students through a ‘slow reveal’ to better understand author’s craft.”

Also, she noted that the ways in which we use pacing, especially in virtual learning, is imperative. Though many teachers want to fill the silence in their classrooms with their own talk — and this is especially true in video conference calls — Calkins reminds us that “we can use silence to get kids to think” and that, with a balance of clear directions and focus still on student choice, we can still encourage students to read and write with frequency and volume.

The Michigan Reading Association welcomes all members — those who are new as well as whose memberships may have lapsed — to promote literacy by renewing your membership. To update your membership for only $35, please click here .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.