WRITE Center Delivers Livestream Book Talks, Poised to Become a National Center for the Study of Secondary Writing
With a $5 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), UCI inaugurated the WRITE Center in March to analyze source-based argument writing of middle and high school students in English language arts and history. Led by Professor Carol Booth Olson, the institute seeks to fill the research gap and address the growing crisis among underprepared secondary students when it comes to argumentative writing, particularly in areas other than English language arts.
This summer, the WRITE Center hosted three book talks from acclaimed authors of professional books for teachers on academic reading and writing. Viewers were encouraged to participate virtually and were able to send questions electronically to a moderator. All of the book talks are available to watch via livestream.
The first livestream book talk, delivered on June 26th, featured Burlingame High School teacher and best selling author Jim Burke, who discussed his book: Six Academic Writing Assignments: Designing the User’s Journey. View photographs from the event here, and view the event here.
The second live-steam book talk occurred on July 3. Magnolia High School teacher Kelly Gallagher presented his book: 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents. View the event here.
During the third book talk on July 10, noted literacy authority Carol Jago issued a call to action: The Book in Question: Why and How Reading is in Crisis. View the event here.
In addition to delivering content designed for educators across the U.S., the WRITE Center will be analyzing argument writing across the grade levels in two disciplines, English and history, to determine what features of high-quality writing in history are like or unlike the features of high-quality writing in English language arts. The Center will then develop, field-test, and pilot an innovative writing intervention involving professional development focused on source-based argument writing for middle school and high school history teachers. This research agenda is being supported by Olson and UCI School of Education Professors Mark Warschauer, Young-Suk Kim, Penelope Collins, a host of UCI doctoral students, and Arizona State University Professor Steve Graham.
In describing the Center goals, Olson explains, “Our vision for the WRITE Center is that it will be more than something specifically geared for doctoral students and researchers. We want to make different tools, data, and strategies widely available to practitioners, and for the Center to be an exciting hub for classroom teachers to access.”
For more information, please visit the WRITE Center website.
About Professor Carol Booth Olson: In 2018, Olson was awarded a $14.7 million Education, Innovation and Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand the Pathway to Academic Success Project, which Olson created in 1996. The Pathway project is a multiyear professional development program for teachers that promotes an instructional approach to enhance the thinking tools that students use to understand, interpret, and write analytical essays in order to enhance academic outcomes for students from low SES, high need schools with large populations of English learners. The project has already been implemented in 10 Southern California school districts, with plans to extend into Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Olson has also served as director of the UCI Writing Project since 1978. One of 200 sites of the National Writing Project, the UCI Writing Project has trained 900 teachers from 85 local school districts and 12 colleges and universities. It was the first California Writing Project site to create a summer youth program, which has grown from 35 students and two teachers in 1984 to more than 2,500 students and 200 teachers per summer.
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