Book Club: Professional Book Review

Lauren Holcombe

Pre-Adolescent and Adolescent Literacy LIST 5326

The University of Texas at Arlington Summer 2017

The Honor Code


I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington's tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or that I contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

Background Information

I currently serve as the Instructional Coach at my PreK through 5th Campus

I currently hold the following certifications:

  • EC-8 Generalist
  • EC-8 ESL Supplemental
  • GT Certification

At this time, I do not belong to any professional organizations.

I read the professional publication:

Education Week

  • I receive a weekly email with the new publishings for the week. This is a great way to stay current on educational issues.

I have attended the following professional conferences:

Ignite 2015 and Ignite 2017

  • Ignite is a conference held by TXASCD that focuses on blended learning in the classroom. Ignite offers keynote speakers each morning and breakout sessions throughout the three day conference. It is a wonderful conference geared towards educators just beginning the blended learning journey as well as though looking to learn about new trends and strategies for blended learning.

Coppell ISD Principal Academy

  • At the CISD Principal Academy Ainsley Rose presented a three day training on Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Cycle. Ainsley Rose has over 40 years of experience in the education field. He is an incredible presenter and I am so fortunate to have been able to attend his training.

Kathy Kee: Results Coaching

  • Kathy Kee has written several books on coaching and is the epitome of a coach. She embodies the definition of coach. Coaching is not a job for her, but her life. She spent the day with the Instructional Coaches of Coppell ISD this spring. She was an incredible resource. Because we were such a small group she was able to coach us through difficult situations we face as Instructional Coaches on our campus. She asked for our needs and spent the day working with us on things specific to our needs and campuses. It was an incredible day of learning! She is returning in the fall and I am so excited to continue learning from her.

Section I

Bibliography & Graphic for Book

Write Like This By Kelly Gallagher

Bibliography Citation:

Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this: Teaching real-world writing through modeling and mentor texts. Stenhouse Publishing.

Websites & Reviews

Francesca LoGiudice

Francesca LoGuidice is a former fifth and sixth grade literacy teacher. She also taught graduate courses at the University of Albany and is a professional development specialist. She recently read and wrote a review of Gallagher's, Write like this. LoGuidice's book review is very well written and organized wonderfully. She offers an in depth look at Gallagher's work. She begins by introducing Gallagher and his work. She then offers a quick look inside the book. She outlines the structure of the book and its key points. She organizes her review by the chapters found in the book. LoGuidice also provides a chart she created highlighting her favorite activities from the book! This is a great review of the book and reader's of LoGuidice will be motivated to read Gallagher's work.

GoodReads Review

In this review the author compares Gallagher's book to learning how to shoot a basketball. This provides great imagery for the reader. Someone who is considering reading the book immediately has a good idea of what the book is about; teaching learners how to be great writers! This review give the reader some insights into the book regarding Gallagher's goals for his learners and he shares his processes in order for students to reach their goals. Just reading the quick review of the book is highly interesting and would persuade any writing teacher to read Gallagher's Write Like This.

Editor's Review

This review is provided from the editor. This review provides the reader with the target audience. So, immediately the reader knows that Gallagher's work is geared toward secondary educators working as a team or within their own classroom. The editor's review also provides the reader with Gallagher's main theme throughout the book and how each chapter is structured accordingly. Based on reading the review the reader will know that Gallagher provides a list of activities for each writing strategy. The reader also understands that Gallagher believes writing must be modeled regularly. From reading the review provided by the editor it is clear that Write Like This would be an exceptional resource for any writing teacher in the upper grades.

Section II


Kelly Gallagher is a teacher at heart. He has been teaching in Anaheim, California since 1985. He is passionate about reading, writing, listening and speaking. His passion led him to leading the way in literacy. He has written six books and continues to forge the way for educators.

To learn more about Kelly Gallagher visit:

Focus of the Book

Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts

Gallagher begins by introducing two central premises to the reader. First, young writers must focus on real-world writing purposes. Young writers must understand why writing is important. We should not teach our writers how to write, but first teach them why they should write (Gallagher, 7). Otherwise our young writers will only think that writing is a school activity and not understand that is a life skill. The second premise, Gallagher states that students must have extensive teacher and real-world models. Teachers can not simply require students to write or show them writing. Teachers must show students how to write by doing the writing, thinking out loud, and showing them the struggles of decision making while writing.

Response to the Book

I really enjoyed reading Gallagher's Write Like This. I like the simplicity of Gallagher's themes. He offers two big premises for the educator. One, teach your students why they write, and secondly, model writing. I think educators can easily digest Gallagher's two premises and easily implement the strategies he offers in their classroom immediately.

Gallagher provides his learners with a chart depicting the authentic ways in which we use writing in our everyday lives, Figure 1.1 (Gallagher, 10). Through this chart he teaches his students that we use writing to express and reflect, inform and explain, evaluate and judge, inquire and explore, analyze and interpret, or take a stand and propose a solution. Gallagher then organizes chapters two through seven according to these forms of writing.

Gallagher then moves the educator beyond just getting students to write. Gallagher offers strategies to teach students the importance of looking at their first draft and reworking their writing. He uses a clever strategy that all educators would be excited to implement and share with their learners!

Gallagher concludes his book with ten core beliefs of teaching writing. These ten beliefs are empowering and motivating to the writing teacher! Gallagher does an incredible job of supporting the educator by providing validity to the real world classroom and providing strategies to support them.

Write Like This is an incredible professional book for educators teaching writing. Gallagher is renowned in the field of writing and it is apparent why after reading his book. Gallagher leaves the reader with this lingering thought "Let's teach our students how to develop and use the tools and weapons they will need to lead productive, literate lives (Gallagher, 237).

Section III

Section IV


Getting Started with Mentor Sentences

This is a great blog written by Jivey. Jivey is a teacher and blogger. She provides a variety of resources for educators. This particular blog post introduces teachers to the idea of using mentor texts in the elementary classroom on a daily basis. Gallagher's activities provide educators with strategies to use during whole group writing instruction. Once teachers were familiar with Gallagher's strategies and Jivey then I think they could think about combining the two. I think it would be interesting to use Jivey's ideas along with Gallagher's strategies.

Jeff Anderson: The Write Guy

Jeff Anderson is a very well known professional in the area of writing. He has written many books on writing instruction. He has been passionate about writing for over 25 years. Anderson's book, Mechanically Inclined, guides educators through using mentor texts to teach grammar and mechanics. So many of Gallagher's strategies begin by showing or reading mentor texts to students. I think educators looking to teach mechanics and grammar would be interested in Jeff Anderson.

Notable Sentences...for Imitation and Creation

This blog is a continuation of Jeff Anderson's work. This is a collaborative space in which teachers can contribute blog posts. One feature of the blog is "Best Sentence Ever." Here educators can find wonderfully rich sentences that would inspire, motivate, and engage learners. These would be great to consider when needing an additional mentor text for Gallagher's activities or providing prompts to students.

Using Mentor Texts to Motivate and Support Writers

Rebecca Alber is a literacy specialist and contributor for Edutopia. In this article Alber adds to Gallagher's premise that if we want students to learn something we must show them, not just tell them. This is especially true with writing. Alber acknowledges the demands of the teacher and the crunch for time. She suggests that showing mentor texts is the best way to get quality essays from our students.

Mastering Mentor Sentences

This is another blog post by Jivey. In this post she continues the teacher's journey using mentor texts. Here the teacher can click on the grade level and see resources for teaching using mentor texts. Jivey uses Jeff Anderson strategies and research to guide her work.

Write Alouds

Sharan Gibson, Ph.D, is an associate professor at San Diego State University. She is also a contributing author on In this article she urges educators to value the importance of modeling writing. She states that writing is a complex cognitive activity and students learn best when these high level cognitive activities are demonstrated for them. Gibson provides a lesson for how to demonstrate a think aloud with the class or small group.

Kelly Gallagher's Webpage: Instructional Materials

Gallagher's webpage offers educators a variety of resources related to his research and books. Here the educator can find charts and forms. For example, there is a Real World Writing Purposes chart available for download. This would be a great resource to print and distribute to the class. Students could review the chart and glue it in their writing journals for future reference.


Burke, J. (2013). The English teacher's companion: A completely new guide to classroom, curriculum, and the profession (4th ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

  • Jim Burke's book offers an in depth look at literacy instruction. Burke helps educators understand the students currently in our classroom. They are no longer the generation of the future. They are here, now. Burke provides the educator with foundations for teaching writing, reading, speaking and listening. He also guides the teacher through vocabulary and grammar instruction. This book is a wonderful resource for any educator working with literacy instruction.

Hadaway, N. (2003-2009). LIST 5326: Pre-Adolescent and Adolescent Literacy. Arlington TX: Center for Distance Education at the University of Texas at Arlington.

  • These online lessons provide educators with engaging strategies and research in adolescent literacy. The strategies, lesson organization, and genre ideas provided in each lesson are great for educators to consider when planning instruction.

Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this: Teaching real-world writing through modeling and mentor texts. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

  • This book offers educators turn key strategies for writing instruction. Every strategy Gallagher provides is able to be easily implemented and is highly engaging for students. This book is an incredible resource for writing teachers. While geared toward secondary writing instructors, I think there are strategies that educators of all levels will thoroughly enjoy using with their students.

Serravallo, J. (2017). The writing strategies book: Your everything guide to developing skilled writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

  • This is such an amazing book! I highly encourage every writing teacher in grades kinder through eighth grade to check it out! Serravallo provides 300 research based writing strategies for teachers. She organizes the strategies goals. Such as, compsing with pictures, generating and collecting ideas, or word choice and so many more! She even has a section for grammar and spelling! I love this book and hope you will check it out!

Section V

Teacher Interview: Laura Lee/ Denton ISD

Laura Lee is a 6th Grade reading teacher in Denton, Texas. I interviewed Laura recently so that she could give me more insight into her views and experiences as a middle school teacher as they relate to Gallagher's : Write Like This.

Have you read Gallagher's book Write Like This?

  • YES! I love that book and his other books are great, too!

Do you agree with Gallagher's two main premises in the book? That students should be taught why writing is important before learning how, and the modeling writing is imperative.
  • I do! Yes! At the beginning of the year we do spend time teaching kids the importance of writing and the different genres. But, I don't think we spend the amount of time that Gallagher suggests. I'm sure we could do more. Modeling writing is really important, but it's tough. You have to be so prepared. It's hard sometimes to model all the thinking.

How does your school district support teacher professional development?

  • Throughout the school year we have regular department meetings, mentor meetings and faculty meetings. Additionally, we are sent to weekday and weekend trainings at our Educational Service Center. This summer they are also sending me to several conferences here in San Antonio.

Do you belong to a professional organization related to language/literacy instruction? If so, which organization?

  • No, but I'm sure I should.

Have you ever attended a professional conference such as the Texas State Reading Association state meeting, etc.?

  • I haven’t been to that conference. But, I'm going to look into it! I've attended TCEA the last couple of years. That's more for technology. But nothing really related to reading or writing. I do a lot of in-district training and PLC's.