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Writers Express Professional Development

How is Writers Express organized?

The Writers Express Handbook has four main sections, as you can see on the back cover.

Writers Express Cover
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  1. The Process of Writing section teaches strategies for prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
  2. The Forms of Writing section teaches how to write the many forms: personal, narrative, explanatory, persuasive, literary, research, and creative. Chapters provide guidelines, models, and checklists.
  3. The Tools of Learning section teaches skills for reading, listening, speaking, studying, and test taking.
  4. The Proofreader's Guide provides rules and examples for punctuation, mechanics, spelling, usage, sentences, and grammar.

Take a Tour!

Page through the handbook in one of these ways:

  1. Open a Slideshow in Google Slides.
  2. Download a Slideshow in PowerPoint (7 MB).

What's in the grammar SkillsBooks?

Writers Express includes grammar SkillsBooks for grades 4 and 5. Each SkillsBook teaches the rules of punctuation, mechanics, spelling, usage, sentences, and grammar, with examples and activities.

Writers Express SkillsBook Covers
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Take a Tour!

Page through the SkillsBook Teacher's Guides in one of these ways:

  1. Open a Slideshow in Google Slides.
  2. Download a Slideshow in PowerPoint (3 MB).

What's in the free online Teacher's Guide?

The Writers Express Teacher's Guide includes a scope and sequence, yearlong timetable, getting-started activities, chapter-by-chapter guide to the handbook, help for writing assessment, research basis, and activities and handouts.

Writers Express Teacher's Guide Table of Contents
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You can get to the Teacher's Guide by going to and clicking on "Teacher's Guides" in the top banner.

Thoughtful Learning Website Top Banner
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Take a Tour!

Page through the free online Teacher's Guide on any device with Internet access—no sign-in needed.

How do these components work together?

The Writers Express Handbook is designed to let you choose what you want to teach and when. Instead of marching page by page through a basal, you select the chapters you teach throughout the school year.

Here's one sample way that you might organize the first three weeks of instruction in your classroom, drawn from the "Yearlong Timetable" in the Teacher's Guide:

Writers Express Yearlong Time Table
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Most numbers represent pages in the Writers Express Handbook, but those marked SB4 or SB5 represent pages in SkillsBook 4 or 5. Here's one suggested teaching plan:

  • Week 1: Download "Getting Started Activities" and distribute them to your students. They can complete the activities in Word or Google Docs, or they can work on paper printouts. These fun scavenger hunts and other activities help them become familiar with their handbooks. You can also teach "Why Write?" and "A Basic Writing Guide." Then get students started with "Writing in Journals."
  • Week 2: You can teach the chapters "Understanding the Writing Process" and "One Writer's Process" to help students learn the basics of good writing. You can also teach "Writing Basic Sentences" in the handbook. These pages align with activities within SkillsBooks 4 and 5.
  • Week 3: Help students learn about the "Qualities of Writing" as they create their first formal assignments in "Writing Paragraphs." Continue your work with sentences by using the next set of SkillsBook activities.
  • Week 4: You can teach prewriting skills with "Selecting and Collecting" and then have students begin writing narrative forms. Fourth graders might write "Personal Narratives," while fifth graders might create "Realistic Stories." Both grades can learn about sentence combining in the handbook and practice it using the appropriate SkillsBook pages.

How can I get started with these materials?

Download the Writers Express Program Sheet. The first page provides an overview of what you have just learned about the three components. The second page gives you a simple four-step process for launching the program in your classroom—getting you and your students comfortable with Writers Express.

Writers Express Program Sheet 1
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Writers Express Program Sheet 2
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