Author Thomas McCann invites readers to rethink their approach to teaching writing by capitalizing on students' instinctive desire to talk. Drawing on extensive classroom research, he shows teachers how to craft class discussions that build students' skills of analysis, problem-solving, and argumentation as a means of improving student writing. McCann demonstrates how authentic discussions immerse learners in practices that become important when they write.
Chapters feature portraits of teachers at work, including transcripts that reveal patterns of talk across a set of lessons. Interviews with the teachers and samples of student writing afford readers a deeper understanding of process. Students also report on how classroom discussions supported their effort to produce persuasive, argument-driven essays.