Book Review: Barry Lane's "The Reviser's Toolbox"

The Book I Said Was For "Elementary Teachers" I Use Everyday



For the first book review on the blog for educators, I wanted to discuss a book that unexpectedly has changed the way I teach writing. I am a secondary educator; however, after working with two elementary teachers one summer, I noticed that this book was ALWAYS in their stack of books needed for writing camp. They carried this thing around. It was marked; it was annotated.

This book was Barry Lane's The Reviser's ToolboxWith a bright yellow colored cover, and practical lessons that can easily be reproduced for the classroom, I was simply hooked. With the upswing of teaching informational and argumentative writing, I had forgotten a long lost love of mine: narrative writing. Barry tackles all genres in this book, but many of the lessons pertain to narrative writing and how students write with both creativity and complexity. Here are my large take-a-ways:

  • Scene=dialogue+snapshot+thoughtshot

  • Questions on snapshot or thoughtshot? Click on this pdf: Snapshots__Thoughtshots

  • Snapshot with Pics is a lesson I created to help teach snapshots in the classroom

  • Explode-a-moment and playing with time

  • Peer revision expectations and resources

Some Barry Lane Videos I Enjoy:

Writing Mindset Reflection: How does narrative writing improve academic writing like informational or expository genres? How do these two overlap? What skills can I teach my students that will help with both?