PROFESSIONAL READING

Create Your School Library Writing Center: Grades 7–12

185p. ebook available. index. Libraries Unlimited. Oct. 2016. pap $50. ISBN 9781440835797.
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Horan is passionate about the possibilities for school libraries expanding their services to incorporate peer tutoring for writing. In this step-by-step guide, he lays out a blueprint based on his experiences teaching writing, including at the university level. Now in a high school library, Horan details how he effectively trained student tutors to help their peers learn to write well. The detailed presentation of information resembles a mind map. The initial chapter describes the school library as a logical place for a writing center, with talking points for presenting the idea to an administrator, and includes Horan's own letter to the principal. Readers will also learn how to find peer tutors, instruct them, advertise the center, and troubleshoot. The longest and strongest section of the book, about the process of preparing and motivating peer tutors, has the ring of truth forged by experience. Educators will appreciate detailed explanations of what to do—and what not to do—at each phase in the process of establishing and running a writing center. The quality of the text and folksiness of the tone, however, are weaknesses—Horan's own prose might not pass some high school teachers' tests for tight technical writing. Additionally, though the idea of peer tutoring is a plausible model for high schoolers, the author doesn't quite make the case for training seventh and eighth graders.
VERDICT For high school librarians with the resources to set up a writing center, this is a useful addition. It may also be helpful for language arts teachers seeking to fine-tune ideas and schemas for peer tutoring, though it would not be a first book for such teachers.

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