First Edition   ©2013

Responding to Student Writers

Nancy Sommers (Harvard University)  

  • ISBN-10: 1-4576-1934-2; ISBN-13: 978-1-4576-1934-2; Format: Paper Text, 64 pages


Note to fellow teachers


       Why comments matter

       Considering a writer’s development

       Seeing comments through students’ eyes

       The call-and-response of commenting

1 Setting the scene for responding

       Offering one lesson at a time

       Understanding the purpose of comments

       The dangers of overcommenting

       Responding to rough versus final drafts

       Finding the right tone

       Developing a common language

       Creating a link between classroom and comments

2 Engaging students in a dialogue about their writing

       Establishing a role for students in the dialogue

       Revising with comments

       The Dear Reader letter

       Making the most of comments

3 Writing marginal comments


       Less is sometimes more

       Developing a scale of concerns

4 Writing end comments

       End comments on early drafts

       End comments on final drafts

       Taking students seriously

5 Managing the paper load

       Focusing on student learning

       Varying the purpose of comments

       Varying the style of comments

       Mentoring students to become thoughtful readers

       Resisting the urge to correct grammar and punctuation errors

       Finding a role for grading rubrics

6 A case study: One reader reading


Responding to student writers: Best practices